Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today highlighted the work being done to upgrade the Ralph Wilson Stadium and improve fans' experience. During a tour today, the Bills also showcased the various projects underway at the stadium. The upgrades consist of new video display boards, a West End plaza that will include a new team store and enhanced gate entries, as well as renovated and expanded concessions throughout the stadium.
"The renovations underway at Ralph Wilson Stadium will give Bills fans and visitors a game day experience they'll never forget," Governor Cuomo said. "Improvements are on time and on budget, so players and fans will soon be able to enjoy the stadium they deserve. It's a great investment to ensure Bills games remain a top attraction in Western New York, supporting jobs and fueling our economy."
Lieutenant Governor Robert Duffy said, "These renovations are being made with the fans in mind and will tremendously enhance the game day experience for all. The Governor's administration is committed to keeping the Bills in Western New York, and with these stadium upgrades we are helping to cement the Bills not only as an iconic team, but as a driver of major economic development and jobs in the region. I am very excited to see these investments coming together, and look forward to seeing the finished products throughout the upcoming seasons."
The agreement signed by Governor Cuomo last year calls for $130 million in upgrades. The Bills are contributing significantly -- $35 million -- to the capital improvements to the Stadium. The state is contributing $54 million and the county's share is $41 million. The agreement includes a commitment from the Bills to stay in Buffalo for at least seven years, regardless of ownership. Under the new 10-year lease that began last season, Erie County and New York State have a virtually ironclad guarantee that the team will remain here through 2019. If the Bills leave any time before the 2019 season, the team would have to pay $400 million to break the lease. The agreement also includes the creation of a New Stadium Working Group and Fund to begin exploring either a substantial renovation of Ralph Wilson Stadium or the development and construction of a new stadium on the current stadium's site or at another Erie County location.
The announcement of the agreement can be viewed here, and further information can be found here.
Russ Brandon, President and CEO of the Buffalo Bills, said, "The exterior concourse is increasing significantly in size, allowing us to make improvements that will dramatically change the experience of attending a Bills' game for fans. The fun will begin as soon as ticket holders walk through the gates -- with more entertainment, a wider variety of food and a bigger better video screen."
Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said, "The renovations at Ralph Wilson Stadium will upgrade the fans' experience in ways never imagined when the stadium was built. This investment underscores our commitment to keeping the Bills in Erie County and giving Bills fans the amenities and experiences enjoyed by their counterparts around the NFL. From the fan's perspective, these improvements will make game day better in many ways, and we look forward to the completion of this project."