AP Source: Bills get initial deal for NFL’s $200m stadium loan

FILE - The field is set at Highmark Stadium before an NFL football game between the Buffalo Bills and the Carolina Panthers, Dec. 19, 2021, in Orchard Park, NY The Bills are one step closer to securing $200 million fundraiser to help fund their bid to build a new stadium, a person with direct knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press on Friday, March 25, 2022. (AP Photo/Joshua Bessex, File)

FILE – The field is set at Highmark Stadium before an NFL football game between the Buffalo Bills and the Carolina Panthers, Dec. 19, 2021, in Orchard Park, NY The Bills are one step closer to securing $200 million fundraiser to help fund their bid to build a new stadium, a person with direct knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press on Friday, March 25, 2022. (AP Photo/Joshua Bessex, File)

PA

The Buffalo Bills have moved closer to securing $200 million in funding from the NFL to help fund their bid to build a new stadium in which a majority of the projected $1.354 billion price tag is expected to be covered. by taxpayers’ money.

A person with direct knowledge of the decision told The Associated Press on Friday that the NFL’s stadium and finance committee backed the Bills’ request for what’s called a G4 loan, recommending that the request for the team be presented at league owners’ meetings for final approval. The person spoke on condition of anonymity as the decision was made in private.

The committee’s approval was anticipated and will require 24 of the NFL’s 32 owners to formally approve the loan in a vote scheduled for Monday.

Under the rules of the G4 program, Bills owners Terry and Kim Pegula would be required to provide matching funds, which would increase private funding to at least $400 million for the new stadium.

The committee’s backing opens a critical week for the proposed project with New York Governor Kathy Hochul facing a deadline to strike a deal in time to include the state’s share of funding in her budget, which, according to the law, must be approved on April 1.

Hochul had previously expressed confidence in reaching an agreement with the bills before the deadline. Even though it presented a budget of $216 billion in January, Hochul said there are many options available to it to tap into the cash needed to fund the project.

While the parties, including Erie County, have moved closer to a deal over the past month, what’s unclear is how much public money will be needed to secure the long-term future. term bills on small markets, which are the only ones in the NFL. New York-based team.

It is expected that taxpayers will be responsible for more than 60% of the cost, with Hochul and Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz pushing back against suggestions that the public price will be $1 billion.

The NFL’s $200 million contribution has already been considered to be part of the funding for the proposed 60,000+ seat facility to be built across from the Bills’ current home stadium at Orchard Park.

NFL G4 funding is actually considered a loan and repaid primarily from certain visiting team seats.

As for the Pegulas’ share, owners could recoup some of their money by requiring Bills season ticket holders to pay a personal seat license fee for the first time, potentially doubling their ticket price. . packages.

The Bills are looking to replace their existing facility which opened in 1973 and was deemed too expensive to renovate. A state study in November pegged renovation costs at $862 million.

If approved, the Bills anticipate the new facility could be built in time for the start of the 2026 season.

The Bills’ existing lease with the state and county runs through July 2023.

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