A suite controlled by Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration at Ralph Wilson Stadium was at 48 percent capacity for the Buffalo Bills’ seven home games last year, according to an end-of-the-year report.
In today’s Gannett newspapers, we took a look at who sat in the 16-seat luxury box, which was negotiated as part of a 10-year, $130 million lease agreement last year to keep the Bills playing in the Orchard Park stadium. Among them: real-estate brokers, developers, journalists and a labor-union official and her son.
Of the 112 tickets available to the state, 54 were distributed. But the “I Love NY Hospitality Center” sat empty for the Bills’ final two home games, Nov. 17 against the New York Jets and a rainy Dec. 22 game against the Miami Dolphins.
“I think we were very satisfied, actually,” said Thomas Kucharski, president and CEO of the Buffalo Niagara Enterprise, a regional business group that was delegated control of the box by Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration. “This was the first time that we’ve tried to do something like this.”
The Buffalo Niagara Enterprise authored the year-end report, which was obtained through a Freedom of Information Law request.
So who sat in the suite? For the first two games, there was a heavy focus on bringing in Canadian brokers and business leaders, including nine real-estate brokers from major firm Colliers International.
Later in the season, a total of four journalists took in a game, including the editor of the Erie (Pa.) Times-News and his wife, who wrote a travel story on Buffalo that briefly mentioned the Bills game.
On Sept. 29, Buffalo developer and Cuomo ally Howard Zemsky attended a game in the box as part of a University at Buffalo conference that hosted a welcoming reception there.
On Oct. 13, Mary Bergquist of United University Professions—the union representing SUNY faculty and employees—sat in the suite with her son for a game against the Cincinnati Bengals. Visit Buffalo Niagara, the regional visitor’s bureau that hosted Bergquist, has been bidding on hosting UUP’s annual delegate conference.
Here’s the full report, including a full list of those who sat there: