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Bills have 10-year lease, with seven-year out

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The Buffalo Bills have a new lease at Ralph Wilson Stadium.

That’s the good news.  The better news is that, according to the Buffalo News, the 10-year contract contains a $400 million relocation penalty.

Now for the bad news.  After seven years, the Bills have a one-time opportunity to leave, without penalty.

This clause is, obviously, aimed at allowing Ralph Wilson’s family to sell the team to the highest bidder, even if said bidder would be inclined to move the team to L.A.  The fact that the deal even contemplates relocation, with or without $400 million changing hands, makes it different from other stadium deals, most of which don’t provide a path out of town tied to cutting a check.  Or, after seven years, not cutting a check at all.

The deal also calls for $130 million in stadium renovations, with the Bills kicking in $35 million.  That’s not nearly enough of a contribution to make the Bills think twice about leaving after seven years, if the new owner wants to move the town to a new stadium in a new city.

So Buffalo will have the Bills for seven more years.  After that, who knows?

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51 Responses to “Bills have 10-year lease, with seven-year out”
  1. spellingcops says: Dec 21, 2012 9:07 AM

    Leave the Bills in Buffalo. Don’t torture a great fan base by giving their team to a horrible city full of losers that can’t appreciate football.

  2. gf2711 says: Dec 21, 2012 9:09 AM

    The thinking is that within the next seven years, the Bills are gambling that other teams on the ropes, like Jacksonville or San Diego will have already moved to those other cities.

  3. skinsrock says: Dec 21, 2012 9:09 AM

    I don’t think it will be 7 years before football returns to LA. Chargers make the most sense. Diehard SD fans could still travel to see their team play while opening a larger market in L.A.

  4. ballsohardu says: Dec 21, 2012 9:10 AM

    Great news for bills fans. This is good news I don’t know why the article is so pessimistic. $400 million to move is a huge chunk. They aren’t going anywhere anytime soon

  5. wwwmattcom says: Dec 21, 2012 9:11 AM

    In seven years another team will have gone to and failed in LA. Or LA will have failed, however you want to put it.

  6. gadzod says: Dec 21, 2012 9:13 AM

    Could not be any more happy right now! At least something good has come during this season! LET’S GO BUFFALO!!!!!!!!!

  7. icanspeel says: Dec 21, 2012 9:14 AM

    As a Chargers fan I would take 7 year security for my team right now. Always being at the top of the LA team rumors isn’t much fun

  8. baron30 says: Dec 21, 2012 9:14 AM

    Stop being so negative…its essentially a 7 year lease with a 400 million relocation penalty (under the bills current lease its only 2 million!!!!!)….its designed to get both parties leverage (Erie County and the Bills org) going forward. Both have incentives to strengthen the team and product…Odds are that they re-negotiate in 7 years….also if LA or london is a real threat to get a team, im assuming they will have one before the next 7 years.

    Go Bills.

  9. lennydpocketqb says: Dec 21, 2012 9:15 AM

    It’s beginning to look a lot like Los Angeles!

  10. buffalobills2012 says: Dec 21, 2012 9:15 AM

    LA will have a team by then so where else they gonna move?

    Buffalo Bills are going nowhere and they make me wanna shout.

  11. dtr3e says: Dec 21, 2012 9:17 AM

    What a bum deal. I hate the Bills, as I’m a Jets fan but living in western NY losing the Bills would be devastating to the area. Their fans are crazy for their team and the Bills bring in a ton of money for western NY.

  12. superputman says: Dec 21, 2012 9:20 AM

    Some good news for us Bills fans finally… Now, can they turn things around in the next 7 years?

  13. TheMansiere says: Dec 21, 2012 9:22 AM

    So, what you’re really telling me is that we’re going to go ahead and run this play off drought to 20 years?

  14. filthymcnasty1 says: Dec 21, 2012 9:22 AM

    Re: “This clause is, obviously, aimed at allowing Ralph Wilson’s family to sell the team to the highest bidder, even if said bidder would be inclined to move the team to L.A.”

    I don’t get it. Cuomo left the back door open to relocation, and he expects Bills fans to be happy about it?

  15. simon94022 says: Dec 21, 2012 9:23 AM

    This makes the Bills about as secure in Buffalo as anyone could expect.

    It’s pretty obvious now that the NFL is in no hurry to return to LA.

  16. dbarnes79 says: Dec 21, 2012 9:23 AM

    It seems wrong to move the Bills. Keep em in Buffalo.

  17. AlanSaysYo says: Dec 21, 2012 9:24 AM

    Odds are NOT that the Bills renegotiate in seven years. Odds are that Ralph Wilson is dead in seven years and the team is bought and moved to a city that loses a team to LA or a city that isn’t even in this country.

  18. travishenryskid says: Dec 21, 2012 9:24 AM

    Considering the current lease has only a $2 million relocation fee, this has to be looked at a a huge win for Bills fans. Potential threats to Buffalo, like Los Angeles should be filled within this window. Until the Bills get an owner like Terry Pegula, there will always be a cloud over the future of the franchise, but at least now we have 7 more years.

  19. skoobyfl says: Dec 21, 2012 9:25 AM

    Geno Smith drops back & passes to Fitzgerald for the winning Superbowl TD!!!

  20. buffalose says: Dec 21, 2012 9:26 AM

    Ill take this as good news, at least for the next 7 years

  21. rzon250 says: Dec 21, 2012 9:27 AM

    This article captures my thoughts exactly. Other Bills fans aren’t too smart if they think this lease prevents the Bills from leaving. The Bills undoubtedly would not sign this lease unless the one-year out was included. The state and county had no choice, ultimately the Bills had all the leverage. All this means is seven years and out. Enjoy this crappy team while we have it, Bills fans. The only way the team stays is if Ralph made a specific provision in his will that the Executor of his estate DID NOT have to sell to the highest bidder, but rather could give precedence to a buyer who agreed to keep the team in Buffalo, even if they were not the highest bidder. Considering Ralph probably doesn’t have much longer, we’ll soon find out.

  22. nesportsfan0428 says: Dec 21, 2012 9:30 AM

    I’m a Pats fan, and I make the trek out to Buffalo every year for Pats/Bills game. It’s always one of the best weekends of the year.

    Glad I get to look forward to it for years to come.

  23. voltron217 says: Dec 21, 2012 9:33 AM

    Now we’ll get the announcement that they’ve extended the stupid Toronto series.

  24. riggo08 says: Dec 21, 2012 9:36 AM

    While it would be sad to see the Bills leave Buffalo, the NFL has made it clear that they want a fan base outside of the U.S.. I see them moving to Toronto in 7 years while Jacksonville or San Diego move to Los Angeles. It’s about business, not the fans.

  25. joetoronto says: Dec 21, 2012 9:45 AM

    filthymcnasty1 says:
    Dec 21, 2012 9:22 AM
    Re: “This clause is, obviously, aimed at allowing Ralph Wilson’s family to sell the team to the highest bidder, even if said bidder would be inclined to move the team to L.A.”

    I don’t get it. Cuomo left the back door open to relocation, and he expects Bills fans to be happy about it?
    ***************************************************

    I’m with ya, I think a lot of people have misunderstood what this means.

  26. packh8er says: Dec 21, 2012 9:52 AM

    Congrats Bills fans.

    Signed – An equally relieved Vikes fan.

  27. christopher525 says: Dec 21, 2012 10:29 AM

    This means that Jim Kelly and his investors need to start bringing a ton of cash together, so they can be said “highest bidder” and keep the team in Buffalo.

  28. steelerer says: Dec 21, 2012 10:37 AM

    1st this isnt an issue til 5 years from now, so who cares. 2nd the stadium will be 40 years old next year, and 45+ years old when the 7 year option is available, my guess is this is to give the bills an option to try and get a stadium first, if not they get out.

  29. gobills716 says: Dec 21, 2012 10:40 AM

    The world may be ending in a matter of hours but at least we’ll have a football team when the fat lady sings. Very happy right now. Too bad we have two more weeks of torture left in this season…

  30. spicymudbugs says: Dec 21, 2012 11:07 AM

    This sounds like more bad than good news for Buffalo fans. Leaves the owner with an unbelievably easy out after 7 years. Of course it gives the city time to enhance the stadium via taxpayers but with no penalty to move in 7 years, other cities will be lining up to court the Bills. I hate to see teams move and i hope they stay but to me it seems like this deal is about 80% in favor of the owner. Sorry state of sports when money rules everything

  31. ballboy48 says: Dec 21, 2012 11:25 AM

    This is great news for Bills fans! As a Cleveland Browns fan, it would’ve been terrible to see them leave.

    $400 Million opt out is not that much, for an owner who wants to relocate a team to the second largest media market in the states. That’s the part that is scary. The Bills are valued (as of 2011, Forbes) at $776 Million. To have to pay $1.2 Million to move to LA is not unrealistic. That’s what is scary about this opt out option! Haslam just paid $1.05 Billion for the Browns.

  32. catquick says: Dec 21, 2012 11:28 AM

    How can a team move to London? Interpol would never allow that many felons permanent residence

  33. buffalobills2012 says: Dec 21, 2012 11:28 AM

    @spicymudbugs please tell me where they will go in 7 yrs.

  34. catquick says: Dec 21, 2012 11:28 AM

    Btw…..ever notice how real rich folks always live past 100?

  35. hehateme2 says: Dec 21, 2012 11:36 AM

    Bigger question is if the Bills will make it to the playoffs during the next 7 years??

  36. glac1 says: Dec 21, 2012 11:47 AM

    Buffalo deserves a franchise.

  37. EJ says: Dec 21, 2012 11:49 AM

    This deal is exactly what was needed for all Bills fans, including Jim Kelly. This will give Kelly and Thomas plenty of time to get everything together in order to make the team theirs and keep the franchise where it belongs, In Buffalo. Kelly didn’t just play here, he loves this city and everything it comes with. There is no other person that deserves to own this team than Jim.
    Get it done Kelly! Go Bills!!!! #BillsMafia

  38. maniakalol says: Dec 21, 2012 11:50 AM

    Fins fan here – please keep the Bills in Buffalo.

  39. spicymudbugs says: Dec 21, 2012 11:55 AM

    buffalobills2012 says: Dec 21, 2012 11:28 AM

    @spicymudbugs please tell me where they will go in 7 yrs.

    Buffalo is ranked 50th in metro area ranking nationwide
    Pick any one of the cities 1 – 49 that doesn’t have an NFL team.

  40. nflofficeadmin says: Dec 21, 2012 12:02 PM

    Is LA clamoring for a pro football team…

  41. buffalobills2012 says: Dec 21, 2012 12:15 PM

    @spicymudbugs
    The Bills could have left anytime in the past 3 years for a 2 million dollar relocation fee not to mention the 400 million now.
    As for the 1-50 Bigger cities, do any have a fan base like the Bills? We sell out 80% of all our games even though the product has be atrocious with one of the biggest stadiums in the league. How about the population of the surrounding suburbs and southern ontario and Rochester?
    We are fine. If anything, and if you just heard the Gov and County Execs presser, they are going to have a new stadium in 10 years.

  42. dirte42 says: Dec 21, 2012 12:58 PM

    I’m curious, does anyone know what upgrades the stadium will be getting with the 130 mil?

  43. dannymac17 says: Dec 21, 2012 1:16 PM

    calling LA a horrible city of Losers is blasphemous. If it wasnt for LA, yall woulda forgot about dre.

  44. NoHomeTeam says: Dec 21, 2012 1:36 PM

    skinsrock says: I don’t think it will be 7 years before football returns to LA. Chargers make the most sense. Diehard SD fans could still travel to see their team play while opening a larger market in L.A.

    *********

    See, here’s what I don’t understand: If you are a “die hard fan” of a team — this assumes you actually live in that team’s metro area — and the team moves to another city, how do you possibly remain a fan of that team?

    That team has left you behind. After years of supporting them, going to the games, buying their merchandise, probably taking abuse for being a fan (good teams never seem to move), the team has essentially told you “Sorry, it’s just not enough.”

    And you would continue to support that team?

    Does anyone think that that people in Buffalo would continue to follow the Bills if they permanently become the Toronto Bills?

  45. rekingcrew says: Dec 21, 2012 1:41 PM

    Congrats on watching your Bills getting 50 dropped on them for the next 7 years.

  46. ihatethejets23 says: Dec 21, 2012 1:58 PM

    NoHomeTeam says: Does anyone think that that people in Buffalo would continue to follow the Bills if they permanently become the Toronto Bills?

    No chance. Most would likely cease to watch the NFL and then we can get all of our misery from the Buffalo Sabres instead.

  47. billsfaninmiami says: Dec 21, 2012 3:00 PM

    Glad the Bills are staying in the Buff and getting that much needed upgrade on the 30 yr old Ralph.
    Still one of the best tailgate sites in the NFL!

  48. billsin20xx says: Dec 21, 2012 5:15 PM

    It’s weird though, they can leave in year 7 for a $30M fee, or they can leave in years 8, 9 and 10 for a $400M fee….
    One rumor is that if they don’t leave after year 7 then a new stadium will be built for them, hence the high penalties for years 8-10.

  49. dtjano says: Dec 21, 2012 7:55 PM

    I think that the lease gives the new owner leverage. Get serious abut building a new stadium sooner rather than later.

    Ralph had 0 to do with negotiations and wasn’t present at the press conference. Doesn’t take one too long to think that a new owner will be sooner rather than later thus the sense of urgency to get the deal done.

  50. mackcarrington says: Dec 21, 2012 9:12 PM

    The State and County did pretty good for themselves by making sure they get $400 million in their pockets when the Wilson family sells the team to Los Angeles interests. The new owner will be paying approximately $1.2 or $1.3 billion to put a team in a new stadium that he doesn’t have to pay for. The builder of the stadium will own that, and the corporate revenue streams will help ease the pocketbook of the team owner. Erie county is HOPING the Bills want to leave by 2023. They will feel like they found a leprechaun’s pot of gold.

  51. mackcarrington says: Dec 21, 2012 9:23 PM

    Look at what the Cleveland Browns recently sold for. A little over a billion. Look at what the Dodgers AND their stadium sold for. A little over 2 billion. The Bills (they’ll have to change that name) will almost be a bargain going into the Los Angeles market. Bills fans still living in Buffalo better hope that Ralph lives to be 110 years old. And if you read the letters to the local papers, the majority don’t want the Bills to stay there anyway.

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