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Bills shift focus back to multi-year lease

Ralph Wilson Stadium AP

The Buffalo Bills’ lease at the stadium named for the team’s owner expires on July 31, 2013.  And while talks toward a long-term extension adjusted earlier this year to a one-year deal, negotiations have resumed on a multi-season contract.

According to the Buffalo News, Erie County Administrator Mark Poloncarz said that the county, the state, and the team engaged in “substantial talks” on Tuesday night, and that the discussions are going very well.

“It’s a complicated deal,” Poloncarz said.  “I like the position we’re in, but we’re not there yet.”

The team hopes to obtain public funding of $200 million in renovations to Ralph Wilson Stadium.  In return, the state and the county want to be sure the team can’t leave.

“It all comes down to we want to ensure this team’s here for a significant time period,” Poloncarz said. “So if we’re going to invest public dollars to renovate Ralph Wilson Stadium and assist the Bills with operating assistance as we have in the past, then we also want to ensure they’re there for some period.”

A long-term deal will provide protection against a new owner moving the team, which remains a significant local concern given that it’s believed the family of 94-year-old Ralph Wilson will sell the franchise when he passes.

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10 Responses to “Bills shift focus back to multi-year lease”
  1. buffalose says: Dec 19, 2012 8:47 PM

    This is the kind of deal that could help them get a real coach

  2. ballboy48 says: Dec 19, 2012 9:02 PM

    This is good news. As a Browns fan, I’d hate to see another blue collar town lose their team, because of their owners greed. I remember going to “The Ralph”, when the Bills held Cleveland Browns Day in 1996, or ’97. It was a blast. Fun fans!

    We went back for the Browns game 3 or 4 years ago, for the Monday Night game, and the place is in dire need of replacement. Instead of a $200 M refurb, they should get them a new stadium. $200 Million is just a patch on a building that keeps getting older, and older each year.

  3. rajbais says: Dec 19, 2012 9:26 PM

    Just try to get out of Toronto. It does not even count as true home-field advantage, but they still lose there.

  4. sirsprague says: Dec 19, 2012 10:04 PM

    Good, this is the kind of deal that should happen. If the public helps pay for a team’s stadium, then the team should stick around.

    And I’ve never understood the people who *want* the Bills to move. Do these people truly believe that a profitable franchise should be taken from its fans?

  5. silvestregonzalez74 says: Dec 19, 2012 10:28 PM

    Buffalo will not lose the bills because the NFL will not allow it to happen.because the NFL is trying to get the original NFL back.bring the rams back to la,jacksonville will vacate their franshise to st louis,raiders will stay in oakland.and will be back to normal.

  6. nflofficeadmin says: Dec 19, 2012 10:36 PM

    The only team that plays in NY.

  7. badintent says: Dec 19, 2012 10:38 PM

    The state is broke, the county is broke and the city has been broke forever !
    So where is the $$ going to come from ? Buffalo isn’t Glendale , AZ( sarcasm) A hedge fund ? Brad Pitt ? The NFLPA ? This team is going to Toronto, soon or later.Wilson family will sell the minute the old man is lowered into the ground.

  8. buffalodiehard says: Dec 19, 2012 10:46 PM

    Am I the only one cynical enough to believe there’s something more to this BS one year extension? Is this typical with other stadium leases instead of a long-term extension? With this much money in play doesn’t it seem obvious that somebody who wants the team to move (LA lobbyists or otherwise) has their hand in this and is just trying to run out the clock until our 94-year-old owner passes away? He hasn’t exactly been the picture of health lately…this could happen tomorrow people! Then it’s negotiations OVER. I get more and more angry every time I read these articles!

  9. mistercharitystripe34 says: Dec 19, 2012 10:47 PM

    They should get a new stadium at Niagara Falls. The American side has NOTHING but a casino. The Falls are a great tourist hotspot and they’re only about 25 minutes away.

  10. joetoronto says: Dec 20, 2012 4:40 AM

    You can’t help but wonder if the one year extension is being proposed merely to wait out the eventual death of Mr Wilson.

    I’m afraid that small market teams won’t be able to survive in the NFL going forward.

    It’s just the way it’s all going.

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