Buffalo Bills ownerJr. bought the football team in 1959 for $25,000; according to Forbes Magazine NFL owner rankings the Bills are worth $792 million.
The “crotchety” 93 year old Wilson, who does not even live in the area - he lives in Michigan – runs the Bills simply as a business with no concerns for building a winning team with the opportunity to bring a championship home to Buffalo. Wilson has stated that the team will not be sold until after his death and it will be up to his estate to make those decisions,
Yet, Wilson is expecting the city of Buffalo, and its poor taxpayers, to subsidize a $200 million “upgrade” to the 40 year old stadium. The Bills consistently loses out on television revenue, and depriving fans, due to the inability to fill the 70,000 plus seat stadium that bears Wilson’s name. While a $50 price tag for a single ticket may be considered “cheap” by the NFL and Wilson’s standards but for citizens in one of the poorest cities in the nation $50 is a great deal of money.
With no money to aid an ailing mass transportation system – with over a $7 million deficit -, a mere 50% graduation rate for high school students, and a severe arts and cultural funding shortfall; the citizens of the greater Buffalo area are being expected to subsidize hundreds of millions of dollars for a stadium that will benefit a limited number of people with no guarantee of any economic increases.
Former Erie County executive Collins slashed the budget cutting out all funding for libraries, arts, and cultural programs in the area. While there was some outcry over the issue, many people said that if the programs wanted the money then they should raise it themselves especially since each program only benefited a limited number of area citizens. If this attitude is good enough for programs that enhance the education and quality of life in the area; then why isn’t the same philosophy good enough for a super rich Scrooge of a football owner?
If Ralph Wilson stadium is in such disrepair, why has Wilson waited so long to seek renovations? Shouldn’t a responsible owner keep his place of business in good shape? If Wilson sees the Bills as nothing more than a business, then the stadium is simply a place of business and Wilson should have never let the stadium get to the point where numerous renovations would need to be carried out all at once.