With time ticking on Bills stadium talks, what leverage does each side have?
Dan Etna, co-chair of Herrick's Sports Law Group, was quoted in The Buffalo News regarding a potential agreement between the Buffalo Bills, Erie County and the State of New York for a new NFL stadium in Western New York. The article discusses that all sides agree that a new venue needs to be built and that the government needs to help pay for it, but there are numerous complicated sticking points including the location of the stadium, whether it will be funded by a public-private partnership and how much the Bills - and potentially the NFL -- will have to contribute.
The article further discusses whose support the Bills will need, noting that "the Bills need elected officials at the state and county level to buy into their contention that keeping the team viable in Western New York requires a major public investment."
The article notes that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has expressed support, but raises the question that if there is a financial gap as negotiations reach final stages, whether the NFL will be willing to contribute the funding that "gets the deal done." In response, Etna contends that “[a]t the end of the day, Goodell’s No. 1 job responsibility is keep the ownership happy ... put more money in their pockets.”