By Ken Reed

Some billionaires simply have no shame.

Take the Pegula family, owners of the NFL’s Buffalo Bills, as an example.

According to Forbes, Terry and Kim Pegula have a net worth of $5.8 billion. Despite that wealth, they wanted taxpayers to help pay for a new football stadium for their team to play in — and for their family to make a bigger profit in. So, they went begging to city and state politicians. They landed $850 million in taxpayer dollars for the construction of a new sports palace.

The deal was touted and approved by New York Gov. Kathy Hochul and other local and state politicians. It was the largest taxpayer contribution ever for an NFL facility. Once long-term maintenance costs are factored in, the public’s share of the cost of building and operating the new stadium, scheduled to open in 2026, will be more than $1.1 billion.

As a show of gratitude for the $1 billion public money gift, the Pegulas are now charging up to $50,000 for personal seat licenses (PSLs) for club seats at the new facility. PSL’s are fees charged by sports teams just for the right to buy season tickets (See “Bills Fans Have …”

“I want to remind everybody, the NFL is the entertainment business,” says Erie County (NY) Executive Mark Poloncarz.

“… They love you as much as the amount of money you to bring to the table — what you’re willing to pay for a ticket, what you’re willing to pay for a beer, what you’re willing to pay for, depending what stadium you’re in, a glass of wine and a steak. It’s not your grandfather’s NFL, it’s not your father’s NFL. It’s the modern NFL, where it’s all about money.”
What we have here is billionaire capitalists demanding socialist handouts so they can make a greater profit than they already do as NFL franchise owners.

The Pegulas obviously have the means to fund a new football stadium for their team. The fact they asked for and received approximately 61% of the stadium costs to be funded by the public certainly takes a lot of chutzpah, given that any real attempt to justify need on their part is simply impossible.

Sports economist Robert Baade calls it the Reverse Robin Hood Effect, “taking from the poor, the near poor, the working class and the middle classes and giving to the rich.”

And now they want to soak their loyal fans with obscene PSL fees.

For shame.

Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans


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