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?