After Severe Snowstorm Renders Buffalo Bills’ Stadium Useless, Relocation for One Game Cost the Team Millions
Buffalo, NY recently managed to grab news headlines across the country recently, as thousands of city residents found themselves affected by a surprise lake effect snowstorm. Although Western New York is generally very capable of handling inclement winter weather, one small detail managed to cause an uproar throughout the area this time: it’s football season, and the Buffalo Bills were scheduled to play a game at home, and no amount of volunteer shoveling teams or National Guard help could manage to clear out seven feet out of Ralph Wilson Stadium in time for the game.
After officials declared a state of emergency for the city of Buffalo and for a few surrounding towns (including Orchard Park, where the Bills play their home games), NFL officials were forced to move the Bills-Jets game on Sunday, November 23 out of “The Ralph” and into the stadium of the Detroit Lions on the following Monday at 7 P.M.
According to a New York Times report, the Bills management team agreed with Governor Cuomo that it would be “impractical” to hold a football game in Buffalo, after 220,000 tons of snow had been dumped onto the stadium within one day, and even with about 500 volunteer shovelers hard at work.
As if letting down loyal Buffalo fans wasn’t bad enough, a few people noted that the cost of moving an entire football game to a different state would be pretty painful. It’s easy to assume that the major financial losses would come from game tickets, but as one Marketplace.org article points out, ticket revenues are just the beginning.
Moving an entire football team to a different city for one game is something that happens all the time, but when teams haven’t budgeted for an out-of-town game, the costs add up pretty quickly. In fact, it’s a little bit like suddenly moving your family across the country — everything from hotel rooms to plane tickets are typically booked very far in advance in order to reduce costs, and the prices of gas and food are planned out carefully.
“Additional costs can range from a simple oil change to a flat tire, or if it is a major repair and a tow is needed, any tows to a repair facility could be costly,” says Jon Krueger of Dependable Auto Shippers. “Most of these issues can be taken care of by maintenance, but if it is an unplanned trip any of these can leave you stranded on the side of the road and would typically cost more due to the service centers charging large amounts. Alot of the time unplanned trips are time sensitive and if the arrival was delayed you may miss or be late to the event and add unneeded stress
The Buffalo Bills may not find themselves in as much of a financial bind as one might expect, having lost almost $4 million in ticket sales after moving one game; as NBC reporter Bill Briggs notes, the NFL has a sizable insurance plan in place for emergency game re-locations like this one. But after 18 days of snow removal cleanup, and with an estimated $3 million spent in Detroit for just this game, the Buffalo Bills definitely deserved their 38-3 win over the Jets this time.