The Bills have one more year on their stadium lease, but the team remains on track to extend its current arrangements. To the delight of every Bills fan.
Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz tells WGRZ that the “major” parts of the new lease will be finished by training camp, with the entire deal completed by the end of 2012.
Though the talks have yet to turn contentious, there will be some inevitable pushing and some pulling.
“They want more than I think they know they’re going to get,” Poloncarz said. “But we’re not going to give away the store to keep the team here. We’re going to ensure that this team is economically viable and is kept here for many years. But it’s my goal that the Bills contribute to part of the construction costs associated with the stadium [renovation]. They know that, because they heard that directly from me, and I feel confident that when all is said and done that we’re going to get a lease that is fair for all, and keeps the Buffalo Bills in this community so that they’re the Buffalo Bills, not the Los Angeles Bills.”
Poloncarz added that “very productive” talks occurred last week, with more negotiations set for next week.
That’s good news, but the devil will be dwelling in the details. With owner Ralph Wilson’s family planning to sell the team when the 93-year-old founder of the franchise heads to the Great Owners Meeting in the Sky, the buyer could be tempted to find a pathway to L.A. Whether and to what extent the lease slams that door will go a long way toward securing the team’s future in western New York.