By Patrick Freeman
The Downtown stadium is one topic that I defer to no one in view of the amount of research that I completed, along with visiting several NFL Stadiums in this country. It is for this reason that I believe that my commentary on this subject is purposely being ignored at every level.
The professional team imported paid spin doctors to help shape a secular narrative regarding a new stadium that would only benefit them and increase local tax subsidization of an industry that claims to be a 501© (6) in legal title – implying a not – for – profit entity.
These spin doctors have been advised to get a deal done ASAP – asap or they will move the team without exploring all options that are available to keep this franchise in Western New York. Most people do not realize the NFL is in the middle of two nasty relocation lawsuits They are not getting enough attention because of some of the same tactics being employed by local ownership after many efforts were made to keep these franchises in St Louis, and Oakland, CA.
These lawsuits could very well change the entire narrative of NFL franchise negotiations. Maybe that is the reason for the rush of the spin doctors threatening not to sign an extension on a lease that does not expire until 2023. Local ownership has even convinced some of your local amateur pundits that a downtown stadium is impractical!
So, what is practical is building a facility in the middle of nowhere that only benefits the use of the professional team at your expense with no return on such a large outlay of public money.
As the local networks and officials defer to spin doctors to shape a narrative dictated to them by their unholy alliance with wealth and power.
Fact# Private Investment Plan has always been on the table but the way this narrative is being shaped is that you (taxpayer) have only one option or lose your team.
Fact# Industrial waterfront side of our lakefront has not been offered as a site because of a misconception that it has been remediated. This misconception is also false because private developers have targeted taxpayer remediation so that they can build high end housing on this side knowing that industry contamination makes such a thing impossible.
Facts# These developers fear outside money coming into Western New York cannot be control; therefore, they bought up inland parcels to stop any hope of a stadium coming to downtown and because of unholy alliances based on political contribution sabotaged a possible downtown stadium landsite which led to the Orchard Park being chosen as a cheap alternative to prolong the tax subsidized professional team which operates with very little overhead.
Facts# These same people gave an 80-acre possible site to Elon Musk for a factory that was supposed to create thousands of new jobs but has also failed to deliver on a public investment of $750 million of public money.
The good news is the Outer Harbor is still a workable stadium complex site which can be used in line with remediating a damaged ecosystem to become a model of environmental concerns, meaning progress at the same time to please environmentalists and help remediate a brownfield with new technology that can change the entire landscape of Western New York…with Private money.
Patrick Freeman is “The Mighty O’Ba” – A long time sports journalist based in Western New York who covers college and pro sports including the Buffalo Bills.