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.