No, it’s not looking good for the Bills to be in Buffalo over the long term. But there’s a way the Wilson family can make it much harder for the next owners to move the team.
If the franchise cuts a deal for a new stadium before the team is sold, it will become much harder for the team to leave after it’s sold.
The lease at the new venue obviously would need to include terms and commitments making it difficult if not impossible to leave within the next 20 or 30 years. And those promises would then tie the hands of the next owner(s) — in the same way that the current lease at Ralph Wilson Stadium prevents relocation until 2020 at the earliest.
Of course, agreeing to a stadium deal necessarily will exclude from the eventual bidding process potential buyers who would pay top dollar for the ability to take the team to a more lucrative market. Ultimately, then, there’s one question that will drive this process. One one question to which no one outside the Wilson family currently knows the answer.
What does the Wilson family want? Top dollar even if the team moves, or the best deal that can be brokered for a team that is tied for the next generation and beyond to Buffalo?
The sooner Buffalo residents know the answer to that question, the sooner they can quit worrying about the team leaving.