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Andre Reed joins local effort to keep Bills in Buffalo

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As potential buyers consider purchasing the Bills — or, perhaps in the case of Donald Trump, merely talking about purchasing the Bills — a group of fans has accelerated efforts to persuade the winning bidder to keep the team in Buffalo.

On Monday, the Buffalo Fan Alliance announced its advisory board, which includes 2014 Hall of Fame receiver Andre Reed.  Other notable members of the board are former Bills kicker Steve Christie, former NFL receiver Phil McConkey (a Buffalo native), and NBC’s Luke Russert.

The release announcing membership in the advisory board explains that the Buffalo Fan Alliance hopes to raise between $100 million and $170 million, which would be loaned at zero percent interest to a group that promises not to move the team.  The arrangement would save an estimated $8 million to $14 million per year on debt service costs.

It’s an admirable effort, but it’s hard to see the interest-free loan making the difference between staying and going.  If the buyer is motivated by the potential to double the value of the franchise by taking it to Los Angeles and then earning millions more in revenue from the second largest population base in the nation, the potential to save $8 million to $14 million per year in interest costs won’t matter.  If the buyer intends to stay, the buyer will stay — especially if staying results in a new stadium partially funded by taxpayer dollars.

There’s a chance the loan could provide the last piece of a financing puzzle for a group that is otherwise close to pulling off the transaction.  But Bills fans shouldn’t want an owner who can barely afford to own the team.  Bills fans should want someone with deep pockets who chooses to stay in Buffalo.

Ultimately, however, that buyer may have to outbid a buyer who would offer a lot more to the Wilson family in order to acquire an asset that can be moved to Los Angeles.  If that happens, the $8 million to $14 million per year in interest savings won’t come close to bridging the gap.

It’s unclear what will happen to the $100 million to $170 million in principal loaned to the buyer who promises to stay put.  It could make more sense for that money to simply be donated to the effort to build a new stadium, with politicians ensuring that the Bills would make a long-term commitment to playing there.

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28 Responses to “Andre Reed joins local effort to keep Bills in Buffalo”
  1. nygmann says: Apr 22, 2014 9:10 AM

    A true Buffalo Bill through and through!

  2. joetoronto says: Apr 22, 2014 9:12 AM

    There’s no way any businessman in the world would spend all that money on an NFL team and keep it in a never was city like Buffalo.

    It makes no sense and that’s why it’ll never happen.

    The truth hurts, I know.

  3. thestrategyexpert says: Apr 22, 2014 9:14 AM

    If I was Andre Reed I would also ask bids to be submitted with a cover sheet that explains why the bidder is going to be a responsible owner and how they are going to make Buffalo football great again. Lots of teams are owned by people with deep pockets, but that doesn’t mean the product is necessarily a respectable and quality one.

    Find somebody with deep pockets or not that WILL keep the team in Buffalo and WILL do whatever it takes to make the team win. That doesn’t require deep pockets at all since all teams spend a similar amount of money anyhow.

    They don’t need a rich owner, they need a SMART owner.

  4. bmorepositive123 says: Apr 22, 2014 9:14 AM

    I’d rather a team with little history like Jacksonville move to LA, that keeps historic teams like the Bills, Vikings, etc. where they belong and we can finally end this hellishly annoying “moving a team to LA unless tax payer dollars foot a billion dollar stadium for billionaire owners”…

  5. ballboy48 says: Apr 22, 2014 9:16 AM

    As a Browns fan, Buffalo opened up their arms to Browns fans after Modell took the team. They had a Cleveland Browns day with a Dawg Pound and all! If there is anything the Browns, and their fans can do to keep the Bills in Buffalo, we’d be there.

  6. joejgibbs says: Apr 22, 2014 9:16 AM

    Tell you what — if Trump gets his hands on that team, say buh-bye to Buffalo. Either that or Ralph Wilson stadium will get a complete renovation in the form of the leagues 1st skyscraper stadium equipped with adjacent casino.

  7. rocbills says: Apr 22, 2014 9:32 AM

    The money should be used to sue the NFL to gain the same illegal advantage Green Bay has . No goofy owners gumming up the works .

  8. thelastpieceofcheese says: Apr 22, 2014 9:43 AM

    It becomes clearer every day that Donald Trump is the bills only hope.

  9. lukedunphysscienceproject says: Apr 22, 2014 9:44 AM

    This article puts it perfectly.

    The only way the Bills stay in Buffalo is if they find an owner that cares more about tradition than money. There is no possible formula or scenario you can cook up that results in the team being worth more money or being more profitable in Buffalo than LA. Even a brand new stadium 100% paid for by taxpayer dollars (which ain’t happening) in Buffalo would not result in the same revenue as one in LA.

    I hope it happens, but fans need to be realistic. Not many billionaires got that way making sentimental decisions that leave money on the table. And when is the last time the NFL made a decision that wasn’t solely focused on generating every possible dollar?

  10. jerrycola says: Apr 22, 2014 9:58 AM

    Just say no to Trump Casino Stadium

  11. gmsalpha says: Apr 22, 2014 10:01 AM

    An interest-free loan saving $8-14m per year isn’t going to make or break the team remaining in Buffalo. Not from a dollars perspective.

    But what this does more than anything is show how important the team is to the fans. It shows the level of support the team has in Buffalo and is their way showing their appreciation for the team and asking the new owner to keep the team in town where they’re loved.

    Monetarily, it probably won’t make any difference, but as fans, what else can they do, short of footing a half billion dollar stadium without any contribution from the new owner?

  12. ampats says: Apr 22, 2014 10:04 AM

    As a Patriots fan , I hope the Bills will find ownership to keep the tea in Buffalo which their fans have supported since 1960. Maybe they should get Chris Berman as another member of the board as everyone knows he is a big Bills fan.

    Similar to here in the Boston area Gillette has become a big sponsor of the team, the ownership of New Era based on Buffalo could be part of the ownership.

    I might root for the Bills to lose on the field but they deserve the opportunity to keep their team that is a part of the city.

  13. luther6 says: Apr 22, 2014 10:05 AM

    Bills fans are amazing. A handful of franchises have this kind of commitment. It would be a huge mistake for the NFL to trade this for, say, some lackluster team in LA. And if the NFL gets greedy, it will pay the price down the road. But LA doesn’t appear to be in play at the moment; it’s down to Toronto or staying put. There may be a compromise.

    Pegula, Golisano, and Jacobs are the most prudent options, would keep the Bills in Buffalo, and are the most prudent options. Most likely the owners will want to see a stadium in Niagara Falls to capitalize on the huge numbers of Canadians coming to watch the Bills from Ontario (upwards of 20% each Sunday). This is the best long-term solution.

    The Bills staying in WNY but relocating from Erie County may be the price Bills fans have to pay to keep their franchise. All but a few (madmen) will be willing.

  14. justintuckrule says: Apr 22, 2014 10:07 AM

    I thought the gb fake stock buyers were the dumbest fans. Giving out a $170 million dollar interest free bribe to a multi billionaire takes the cake.

    Why is the Wilson family selling anyway? Why wouldn’t they just move to LA and double their value?

  15. fdugrad says: Apr 22, 2014 10:11 AM

    I would really like to see The Bills remain in Buffalo. They have great fans and a long history in upstate NY, however it seems as though it is an EXTREMELY long shot that they won’t be moved as soon as the new owners are able to do so. The money math simply doesn’t work if the team remains in New York State.

  16. ddarlak says: Apr 22, 2014 10:14 AM

    what all the buffalo haters don’t understand is people from buffalo actually love buffalo….someone local will make sure that they stay…

    and as far as people from buffalo would hope that a person wouldn’t be able to just afford the team, if they team stays here i’m up for another 15 years of no playoffs, it’s still the best game in town and only 32 cities get to have it…..

  17. fdugrad says: Apr 22, 2014 10:16 AM

    Luke, it warms the heart to read that you are working to keep your dad’s BELOVED team in Buffalo. He was a GREAT man and fan and would be VERY proud of your involvement with this quest. You are a good son.

  18. jxt2521 says: Apr 22, 2014 10:22 AM

    I grew up near buffalo and was surrounded by bills fans. I’m not a bills fan but western NY deserves that team. The recent low support for the team is only due to it’s crappy performance.

  19. tvguy22 says: Apr 22, 2014 10:28 AM

    Kutztown University’s Andre Reed!

  20. keepyerstickontheice says: Apr 22, 2014 10:38 AM

    The only way the Jaguars stay in Jacksonville is if they find an owner that cares more about tradition than money. There is no possible formula or scenario you can cook up that results in the team being worth more money or being more profitable in Jacksonville than LA. Even a brand new stadium 100% paid for by taxpayer dollars (which ain’t happening) in Jacksonville would not result in the same revenue as one in LA.

  21. keepyerstickontheice says: Apr 22, 2014 10:39 AM

    The only way the Raiders stay in Oakland is if they find an owner that cares more about tradition than money. There is no possible formula or scenario you can cook up that results in the team being worth more money or being more profitable in Oakland than LA. Even a brand new stadium 100% paid for by taxpayer dollars (which ain’t happening) in Oakland would not result in the same revenue as one in LA.

  22. keepyerstickontheice says: Apr 22, 2014 10:39 AM

    The only way the Chargers stay in San Diego is if they find an owner that cares more about tradition than money. There is no possible formula or scenario you can cook up that results in the team being worth more money or being more profitable in San Diego than LA. Even a brand new stadium 100% paid for by taxpayer dollars (which ain’t happening) in San Diego would not result in the same revenue as one in LA.

  23. browns4ever says: Apr 22, 2014 10:49 AM

    Hope he uses some of the $18M Art Modell payed him for one season & having 3 receptions. That’s $6M/catch.
    As a Browns fan, I truly hope The Bills stay in Buffalo.
    GO BROWNS!!!

  24. 1rockyracoon says: Apr 22, 2014 11:04 AM

    How are they going to raise that much money? Buffalo isn’t exactly overflowing with major companies. Football is and always was a business. I don’t see anyone with access to $1 billion limiting the potential of the franchise by staying in such a small market. Imagine how much the value of the team will go up the minute it moves to a major city (Toronto or LA).

  25. djshnooks says: Apr 22, 2014 12:59 PM

    Ps. The team is going nowhere, you fools.

  26. denverdude7 says: Apr 22, 2014 1:08 PM

    Combine the Cleveland and Buffalo franchises and move it to Los Angeles.

    Neither one is viable on it’s own anyway.

  27. mackcarrington says: Apr 22, 2014 1:57 PM

    Bills fans love the Bills. Despite NY State being one of the highest taxed states in the nation, Bills fans will wholeheartedly reach deep into their pockets and gladly pay whatever it takes in more tax money to keep the team there. The Bills are their whole life. The Bills are the only thing that people in Buffalo live for. Education, employment, civic infrastructure; none of that means more than the Bills. Bills fans would starve and live under the Peace Bridge if it meant keeping the Bills in Buffalo. Go Bills!!!

  28. misteranderson41 says: Apr 22, 2014 3:55 PM

    nice thought / intentions / gesture…but $170 million isn’t going to make or brake a deal for the Bills

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