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New Stadium or Retrofitting the Ralph?


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#1 Jerry Jabber

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Posted 02 April 2014 - 09:57 AM

From what Russ Brandon stated, it could take up to two years just to even come up with a decision on a new stadium or retrofitting "The Ralph." If retrofitting is the answer, then how much more retrofitting will need to be done considering "The Ralph" is presently being renovated?

Also, is there any way possible for a new, long term lease to be completed, whether it’s for a new stadium or “The Ralph” before the team is sold?

#2 Dorkington

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Posted 02 April 2014 - 10:00 AM

Personally, I think the location of the Ralph is a bigger issue than the quality of the stadium. But then again, I'm a pretty low maintenance fan.

#3 May Day 10

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Posted 02 April 2014 - 10:32 AM

Any new "renovations"  we are speaking of would likely be started in 2020 or so.  They would likely be a bit of structural enhancements as well as complete rebuild of areas.  It would basically use the same shell and build a "new" stadium with it.   Look at soldier field.  You would walk in opening day and it would look like a much different stadium.

I just wonder if they can do it during the course of an offseason.  I wonder if they would have to play a season at the Carrier Dome or something.

#4 PromoTheRobot

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Posted 02 April 2014 - 10:38 AM

The options are basically a) fix up RWS  b) build new at the RWS site or c) build new elsewhere.

Fixing up RWS is the worst idea because there are issues with RWS that you can't fix: the narrow concourses.  To fix that you are basically blowing up the whole thing and starting from scratch.  And if you do that where do the Bills play for 1-2 years?  UB stadium? (30K capacity)  Rogers Centre? (Whole seasons in Toronto?? :sick: )  Carrier Dome in Syracuse?

There is enough room (likely in the lots across Abbott Rd.) to build a new stadium.  One advantage is people are used to having the stadium there.  They know the roads can handle the traffic etc.  Neighbors are already used to having RWS there. (No NIMBY issues.)  But it's not the sexiest location and if they wanted to build a "Patriot Place" style retail development around it they'd likely get flack from McKinley Mall.

If you are going to build new elsewhere, where are the best locations?

Waterfront, south of downtown - Could be glorious on a nice day but pure hell late in the season when you get 60 mph gales off the lake.

Downtown, foot of Main - Thanks to Perry Pegula you have a burgeoning entertainment district with the FNC, Harborcenter, Canalside and the Cobblestone district, not to mention the casino.  Plus the Metro runs there.  New stadium could fit nicely, especially if Pegula emerges as the team owner.

Niagara Falls, USA - Billionaire Howard Millstien owns acres of land south of the Casino.  More than enough for a stadium, hotel, parking, etc.  It's closer to Toronto and rail lines from Toronto are close by.  You have lots of hotels and attractions on the Canadian side and the idea of a Super Bowl there one day is plausible. Plus a stadium complex could be a catalyst for further development. But NF, USA is an urban tumor.  A total crap hole. Can anything turn that dump around?

On or near UB Amherst campus - Here's a place no one is really talking about but if you think about it, it makes good sense.  Lots of land on and near UB campus, close to I-90, 290 and 990.  Metro can be extended there easily. (Which was the original plan.)  A little closer to Rochester and Toronto.  Plus you have a second football team as a potential tenant: the UB Bulls.  Why not get twice the use from a new stadium?

PTR

Edited by PromoTheRobot, 02 April 2014 - 11:31 AM.


#5 flomoe

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Posted 02 April 2014 - 10:41 AM

Would anyone think that possibly using the existing Orchard Park site to build (or rebuild) a new and modern stadium for the Bills would work?

I ask this because I live in an Orlando suburb and right now, the city of Orlando is in the middle of completely rebuilding the Citrus Bowl (built in 1936) on the same site and using portions of the old structure into a new and modern facility.
I will attempt to attach a link to pictures of the old, the existing and the planned new football stadium.
If anyone has ever been to the Citrus Bowl, you know that the Ralph is a modern palace compared to the CB. The city of Orlando felt that hosting a few football games a year didn't warrant building a brand new stadium that would cost hundreds of millions of dollars. What they did envision though, was investing $200 million, using the existing footprint and portions of the original structure and rebuilding the "lower Bowl" into a modern football facility.

It's just a thought but I would imagine it's a possibility considering that the land, infrastructure and parking issues that would arise in building a new stadium are probably the biggest hurdles that need to be overcome.

http://www.bing.com/...ectedIndex=14#a

#6 May Day 10

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Posted 02 April 2014 - 10:46 AM

PTR has a pretty good take there.  I love the idea of renovating RWS, but realistically it may be nearly impossible.

Niagara Falls wont happen IMO.  It seems Erie County has and will hold their foot in the door and Polancarz hinted there was some sort of language in the lease that would lock in EC.  Niagara Falls is a dump.  Literally, so we would also likely need countless State and Federal funds (and time) to clean up all the environmental damage there.  Also worth mentioning the politicians up there are complete bozos.  That is too much to overcome in an already tenuous process.

Edited by May Day 10, 02 April 2014 - 10:48 AM.


#7 sodbuster

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Posted 02 April 2014 - 10:53 AM

I am a fan of keeping the team in OP, either through retrofit or new stadium, but I like the UB North idea, especially because they have been pushing the "New Yorks premier D1 program" thing lately.

Edited by sodbuster, 02 April 2014 - 10:54 AM.


#8 May Day 10

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Posted 02 April 2014 - 10:55 AM

View Postsodbuster, on 02 April 2014 - 10:53 AM, said:

I am a fan of keeping the team in OP, either through retrofit or new stadium, but I like the UB North idea, especially because they have been pushing the "New Yorks premier D1 program" thing lately.

I like that too.  You have a lot of converging traffic ways there that can be tied into, you would have UB there that would present more state money justification as well as extend it from 10-12 dates to say 16-18.  Plus maybe a bowl game.

#9 jimmy10

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Posted 02 April 2014 - 10:59 AM

The Cardinals and Arizona State shared a stadium for a long time. Are there other examples of an NFL and D1 team sharing a stadium? Could be a nice marketing/visibility boost for UB as they continue to build that program up.

#10 Mr. WEO

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Posted 02 April 2014 - 11:02 AM

Why don't we see wht the current renovation of the stadium looks like?  Other than "wider concourses", what does the stadium really need?

I say leave it be.  It serves its only purpose.

Niagra Falls?  No way...

#11 Jerry Jabber

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Posted 02 April 2014 - 11:02 AM

I think having a stadium in Downtown would be ideal for the city of Buffalo as PTR explained above.

#12 auburnbillsbacker

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Posted 02 April 2014 - 11:06 AM

I don't think building a new stadium would be a good idea.  The Bills don't generate a lot of money in comparison to other teams, but they profit more than others because they are not paying a huge mortgage payment on a new stadium.  Add more bathrooms to Ralph Wilson stadium and it will be fine.

#13 Cereal

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Posted 02 April 2014 - 11:15 AM

View Postjimmyo, on 02 April 2014 - 10:59 AM, said:

The Cardinals and Arizona State shared a stadium for a long time. Are there other examples of an NFL and D1 team sharing a stadium? Could be a nice marketing/visibility boost for UB as they continue to build that program up.
Well.... Tulane has played in the Saints' Superdome for awhile. They have their own stadium now.  Not really the same situation.  There might be other similar arrangements with smaller college football programs.

Pitt plays at the Steelers' Heinz Field; that's closer to the situation y'all are discussing, I think. Edit: Also, Univ. of Miami at whatever-the-hell the Dolphins' stadium is now called.  This is similar as well.

Edited by Cereal, 02 April 2014 - 11:17 AM.


#14 BillsFan-4-Ever

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Posted 02 April 2014 - 11:27 AM

IMO
They'd have to commit to renovations for this year only,
then start laying out plans and a new location to keep the (invested NYS) tax $ at a minimum

#15 Buftex

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Posted 02 April 2014 - 11:34 AM

I am pretty conflicted on this issue.  I love Rich Stadium (spent some of the best times of my life there), and for me, it is fine.  However, when you go to games in other NFL stadiums, it is hard to overlook what a "dinosaur" the Ralph is.  The kinds of rennovations it would take to make it comperable would not only be costly, but time prohibitive.  And, as others have pointed out, where does the team play while those rennovations are taking place, or if the Ralph is torn down, and rebuilt in Orchard Park?  

The negative of the Bills moving from Orchard Park (beyond the economic shot that area would take) is that it could significantly change the Buffalo Bills game day experience.  Going into the city, as opposed to "driving out to the boonies" are two very different things.  I have been to 5 Houston Texans games over the years... gorgeous stadium, but the atmosphere outside, from my experience is just placid, compared to Orchard Park.  I have had a similar feeling at most of the city based stadiums I have been to. Only New Orleans pulls it off, because the whole city is, essentially, in tailgate mode, most of the year. I believe OP plays a large part in that "college atmsophere" that so many point to, when they talk about game day in Buffalo.

At the same time, I absolutely love the notion of the Bills playing in downtown Buffalo.  Love it. Every time I go home, the last 10 years or so, I really do get the feeling that the city of Buffalo, is on the verge of turning the corner... imagine what having the stadium there would do for the downtown area. Just go down there to watch a Bisons game on some sunny night in July or August... the city is really picking up.  I can imagine a great "synergy" (can't believe I am using that "word") with the Bills and Sabres being neighbors.

I used to think the Niagra Falls option made a lot of sense too (prior to the Toronto series), but now i am not as keen on that idea.  I relize the Bills draw a healthy number of fans from Canada, but surveys amongst Canadian Bills fans don't seem to indicate that the Stadium location is a concern to them.

Ultimately, I am fine with whatever they do...as long as we got our team, playing in our city for years to come.

I also think, a new stadium in downtown Buffalo (or perhaps Promos UB option) would do a lot to tie the franchise to the city for years to come.

Edited by Buftex, 02 April 2014 - 11:37 AM.


#16 Chandler#81

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Posted 02 April 2014 - 11:38 AM

New. Superplex in Niagara falls!

#17 Buftex

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Posted 02 April 2014 - 11:41 AM

View PostMr. WEO, on 02 April 2014 - 11:02 AM, said:

Why don't we see wht the current renovation of the stadium looks like?  Other than "wider concourses", what does the stadium really need?

I say leave it be.  It serves its only purpose.



Mr WEO, you might argue that the location of the stadium, in Orchard Park, kind of limits its' use to a degree.

#18 PromoTheRobot

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Posted 02 April 2014 - 11:47 AM

View PostBuftex, on 02 April 2014 - 11:34 AM, said:

I am pretty conflicted on this issue.  I love Rich Stadium (spent some of the best times of my life there), and for me, it is fine.  However, when you go to games in other NFL stadiums, it is hard to overlook what a "dinosaur" the Ralph is.  The kinds of rennovations it would take to make it comperable would not only be costly, but time prohibitive.  And, as others have pointed out, where does the team play while those rennovations are taking place, or if the Ralph is torn down, and rebuilt in Orchard Park?  

The negative of the Bills moving from Orchard Park (beyond the economic shot that area would take) is that it could significantly change the Buffalo Bills game day experience.  Going into the city, as opposed to "driving out to the boonies" are two very different things.  I have been to 5 Houston Texans games over the years... gorgeous stadium, but the atmosphere outside, from my experience is just placid, compared to Orchard Park.  I have had a similar feeling at most of the city based stadiums I have been to. Only New Orleans pulls it off, because the whole city is, essentially, in tailgate mode, most of the year. I believe OP plays a large part in that "college atmsophere" that so many point to, when they talk about game day in Buffalo.

At the same time, I absolutely love the notion of the Bills playing in downtown Buffalo.  Love it. Every time I go home, the last 10 years or so, I really do get the feeling that the city of Buffalo, is on the verge of turning the corner... imagine what having the stadium there would do for the downtown area. Just go down there to watch a Bisons game on some sunny night in July or August... the city is really picking up.  I can imagine a great "synergy" (can't believe I am using that "word") with the Bills and Sabres being neighbors.

I used to think the Niagra Falls option made a lot of sense too (prior to the Toronto series), but now i am not as keen on that idea.  I relize the Bills draw a healthy number of fans from Canada, but surveys amongst Canadian Bills fans don't seem to indicate that the Stadium location is a concern to them.

Ultimately, I am fine with whatever they do...as long as we got our team, playing in our city for years to come.

I also think, a new stadium in downtown Buffalo (or perhaps Promos UB option) would do a lot to tie the franchise to the city for years to come.

UB could still be part of a downtown stadium, especially if they extend Metro to Amherst.  I'm pretty warm to the downtown idea.  As for tailgate space there is a lot of land to the east and south heading toward the First Ward neighborhood.

#19 JM57

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Posted 02 April 2014 - 11:56 AM

View PostMr. WEO, on 02 April 2014 - 11:02 AM, said:

Why don't we see wht the current renovation of the stadium looks like?  Other than "wider concourses", what does the stadium really need?

I say leave it be.  It serves its only purpose.

Niagra Falls?  No way...

It needs a lot...A LOT of structural concrete work done IIRC. Concrete, treated or not, is not well suited for the endless WNY freeze/thaw cycle. The Ralph in its current state isn't unsafe, but requires constant (yearly) Band-Aid jobs to the concrete to keep it from becoming unsafe.

#20 Billadelphia

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Posted 02 April 2014 - 12:05 PM

View Postjimmyo, on 02 April 2014 - 10:59 AM, said:

The Cardinals and Arizona State shared a stadium for a long time. Are there other examples of an NFL and D1 team sharing a stadium? Could be a nice marketing/visibility boost for UB as they continue to build that program up.

Temple plays their home games at Lincoln Financial Field in Philly.