10 highlights of the final Buffalo Bills stadium deal

Here are highlights from the documents filed with the Erie County Legislature that lay out the terms of the final stadium agreement among Erie County, New York State and the Buffalo Bills:

The complex legal terms are included in 17 documents that outline the terms of the initial $850 million public commitment and the Bills’ 30-year lease.

• The $1.54 billion project cost includes $1.14 billion for stadium construction, $188.6 million for design work and other soft costs; $57 million for stadium furniture and equipment; and $13.5 million to tear down the existing stadium.

• In addition to the $600 million the state agreed to pay upfront, it will also contribute $280 million over the life of the 30-year lease to cover maintenance and operational costs at the new stadium. 

• The county agreed to put $250 million upfront into the project but a surcharge of up to 6% on purchases at the stadium will replace the county’s annual contributions toward repairs and upgrades.

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• The Bills, with the help of the NFL’s G4 loan program and the sale of personal seat licenses to season-ticket holders, will cover any stadium project costs beyond the $850 million public investment, including overruns.

• Construction is anticipated to begin June 1 with excavation and foundation work. Construction on the superstructure is projected to start in January. Substantial completion is eyed for July 1, 2026.

The big spend is aimed at ensuring the Buffalo Bills, which the nonrelocation agreement describes as an “extraordinary and unique” property, stay in Western New York.

• The team must pour more than $100 million back into the community over the course of the 30-year lease under a community benefits agreement.

• The benefits agreement also requires construction of a public transportation hub within walking distance of the stadium.

• A non-relocation agreement requires the team to pay back the full $850 million public investment if the Bills break the lease within the first 15 years. That payback figure drops in later years but the deal allows the county or state to take the Bills’ owners to court if they try to leave.

• The project to build the 1.35 million-square-foot open-air, natural turf stadium will involve an expected 400 companies and 10,000 building trades workers.

• The Bills will seek a lucrative new naming rights agreement for the future stadium but the current rights-holder, Highmark BlueCross BlueShield, has the right of first refusal.

“It is a very complicated deal,” Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said in explaining why negotiations among the parties on the final agreement took so long.

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