Erie County won’t “give away the store” to keep Bills


The Bills have one more year on their stadium lease, but the team remains on track to extend its current arrangements.  To the delight of every Bills fan.

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz tells WGRZ that the “major” parts of the new lease will be finished by training camp, with the entire deal completed by the end of 2012.

Though the talks have yet to turn contentious, there will be some inevitable pushing and some pulling.

“They want more than I think they know they’re going to get,” Poloncarz said.  “But we’re not going to give away the store to keep the team here.  We’re going to ensure that this team is economically viable and is kept here for many years. But it’s my goal that the Bills contribute to part of the construction costs associated with the stadium [renovation].  They know that, because they heard that directly from me, and I feel confident that when all is said and done that we’re going to get a lease that is fair for all, and keeps the Buffalo Bills in this community so that they’re the Buffalo Bills, not the Los Angeles Bills.”

Poloncarz added that “very productive” talks occurred last week, with more negotiations set for next week.

That’s good news, but the devil will be dwelling in the details.  With owner Ralph Wilson’s family planning to sell the team when the 93-year-old founder of the franchise heads to the Great Owners Meeting in the Sky, the buyer could be tempted to find a pathway to L.A.  Whether and to what extent the lease slams that door will go a long way toward securing the team’s future in western New York.

Or not.

29 responses to “Erie County won’t “give away the store” to keep Bills

  1. I’m starting to think that the teams that make the most logical sense to end up in LA are not going to be the teams that actually end up in LA. Leaving a big viable market empty just to fill LA isn’t going to do the league any good, even if some owners like having a viable market to threaten to move to.

  2. There’s not much left in Buffalo, so I’ll safely say that if the Bills leave there that’ll be the farms end.

  3. Time to saddle up and head west, men….and, Mario, they’ll make a pizza with your name on it there too. LA bound!

  4. The Buffalo Bills are going no where. No where. They are the fabric of the community and have ready investors ready and willing to take the franchise in. Look no further then the owner of the Sabres Terry Pegula or former owner Tom Golisano. It may be true the the city is in a decline but the surrounding areas (williamsville, amherst, orchard park) are very affluent and to be honest Buffalo is now making a turn for the better, utilizing their water front…… If that does happen and they do leave, that will spell the demise of the NFL.

  5. As much as I love messing with Jags fans, Rams fans, Vikings fans, and Bills fans…I really do not want Los Angeles to get a team. I especially like messing with Jags fans.

  6. L.A. Vikings…

    L.A. Bills…

    (What is this world coming to?)

    I don’t believe any team we’ve seen suggested will move. It would be better if they just simply made an expansion team out in LA and one overseas (if that’s what they really want).

    Bills will stay. Those fans shouldn’t worry much imo.

  7. “Can’t think of a more undeserving location than LA”

    Yea because the last 3 football teams that played in LA have had so much success… ???

    The group that Jim Kelly put together will buy the team and keep them in Buffalo.

    Go Bills

  8. The Packers proved that fans are willing to invest in memorabilia in order to help their team, (pause for all the “worthless stock” comments).

    The Cowboys charged $400 to have your name engraved on a brick used in the sidewalk outside the stadium (or something like that).

    The Bills could perhaps assist in this endeavor by selling some sort of fan-based product.

  9. Love it, can’t see the bills going to LA. Common it’s called the AFC EAST for a reason. Moving to LA would throw everything off.

    Never forgotten Colts in the 5 team east division

  10. I think Ralph will do the right thing and sign a lease that keeps the team in Buffalo for at least the next 25 years. It won’t hurt his interests to have an outrageous cancellation clause written into the contract. He knows he can’t take his money with him, and his kids are already set for life. He’s just a business man who knows he will lose his ability to bluff if he publicly announces that he wouldn’t move the team under any circumstance.

  11. As a NFL fan that lives in downtown Los Angeles, I can tell you the new saying around here is A.B.T.R. (anybody but the Raiders) which I agree with but for some reason most people fail to see the writing on the wall: it will indeed be the Chargers and Rams that occupy Farmers Field in the near future.

    Two teams, no expansion, NFC/AFC. It’s perfect.

    I guarantee this to be the outcome, it’s been decided for over a year, but none of the parties can come out and say it yet.

  12. I would hope that the Bills drop that name if they move to Los Angeles, keep the logo, change the uniforms, and re-name them the Los Angeles Buffaloes or Bison…

    The Bills would be okay in Los Angeles, after all, their most famous player murdered a couple people there and is infamous because of it..

  13. binkystevens,

    Just because 3 teams moved away from Los Angeles doesn’t make the city unworthy and just because the city has always been a vision of paradise that’s gone bad doesn’t mean they don’t deserve a team either. The Dodgers and Lakers have always had huge fan support and the Raiders/Rams averaged 100,000 fans between the two when they both split.

    To sum up the reasons why teams left Los Angeles in a nutshell are as follows..

    The AFL Chargers couldn’t compete with the fans, market, ect, ect, with the popular NFL Los Angeles Rams so they moved.

    The Raiders played in a broken down Coliseum that was damaged in a Earthquake in 1994, they had several stadium deals that they wanted to move forward on but the NFL refused to help and wouldn’t budge on the thought that the Raiders and Rams should share a stadium.

    The Rams owner (Carol Rosenbloom) was murdered in 1979 and his wife, Georgia Frontiere took over the team, fired Rosenblooms son, and moved the team to Anaheim (which opened the door for the Raiders to move to Los Angeles) The Rams largest gap between playoff seasons was 3 years between 1967-1989. The 1980’s Rams featured a high power offense with Jim Everett, Eric Dickerson, Charles White, Henry Ellard, and Flipper Anderson, Georgia tore the team apart the minute she found out St. Louis (her hometown) was in play for an expansion team (lost to Jacksonville) and she agreed to move the team there because of the promise of the dome.

    It had nothing to do with fan support.

  14. Ralph Wilson bought the Bills for $2500 and has used it to extort money from the taxpayers of New York since. What kind of clown names a stadium after himself instead of selling naming rights? The kind that has the local politicians and taxpayers by the neck.
    When the team is sold for close to a billion dollars, the next owner will HAVE TO move to LA just to get a return on the investment.

  15. buffalobills2012 says:
    Jul 4, 2012 11:53 PM
    If that does happen and they do leave, that will spell the demise of the NFL.
    Buddy, seriously, the NFL couldn’t go on without the Buffalo Bills?

    lol, wow.

  16. I think the bills will stay but buffalobills2012—–in no way shape or form would them leaving buffalo “spell the demise of the NFL”. That’s a crazy statement.

  17. Come to LA, the Senator’s son of the USA. We have had two opportunities to keep teams and lost them both, but because of media market size we will always get another chance.

    Lots of potential, little in the way of delivery. Typical Senator’s son.

  18. still confused on why people NOT from Buffalo or have never even been to Buffalo bash it and think we cant support a team. You want to move a team move the Bucs who cant sell out any games or the Jags who cant sell out any games or how bout the Dolphins who cant sell any tickets. Actually just move football out of the state of Florida.

    Plus there have been many of articles stating that there are people interested in the team and dont plan on moving them. I believe one was posted on this very website.

  19. ” Ralph Wilson bought the Bills for $2500 and has used it to extort money from the taxpayers of New York since. What kind of clown names a stadium after himself instead of selling naming rights? ”

    Perhaps you didn’t read the article, but Ralph Wilson does not own the stadium. It is owned and operated by Erie County, and leased to the Buffalo Bills. If Erie County wants to get it sponsored, I’m sure it could. But they have chosen to honor the man that brought the team to the region in 1959 and has loyally kept it there. Why do you care how much his initial investment was anyway? He took a calculated risk and won. Get over it.

    It is also not unfounded for stadiums to NOT have corporate sponsorships ever in this day in age (i.e. Lambeau Field, Soldier Field, Arrowhead Stadium, etc.).

  20. “…the Raiders/Rams averaged 100,000 fans between the two when they both split”

    In a metro area with 10x the population of Buffalo, I’m not sure this is a bragging point.

    I just hope the NFL understands the importance of smaller market teams like Buffalo, Green Bay, Cleveland, and the passion they bring. Those communities live and die with their teams. You get born in Buffalo, you’re spitting up your mother’s milk on a Bills bib the next day.

  21. The new owner is either going to want a new stadium or a major overhaul like Green Bay. The current admin isn’t going to really care too much, what’s in the new lease, because they know Ralph doesn’t have much time left. They’ll just do enough to keep the team in Buffalo, for the time being!

  22. alonestartexan says: Jul 5, 2012 3:47 AM

    Thank you for the reality check re: your post.

    I’d like to add this: the AEG debacle. About 10 years ago, AEG wanted to build a football-only stadium by Staples and made a big splash about it. The City Council said “No taxpayer money for billionaires, you’re not getting a penny”. What do you know, within days the project was cancelled.

    What people don’t get about the sports fans here is that we’re the anti-Cubs fan, we’re not going to pay to watch bad teams just because they’re there.

    For years, AEG treated the Kings like a red-headed stepchild and golly! attendance went down, going to a Kings game was depressing. They suddenly decide to invest in players and stocking the farm system and look what happens a few years later, almost the entire home season sold out (the playoffs obviously did) and a championship.

    Funny how having smart, committed owners can make such a difference. Who knew?

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