New stadium could be the key to keeping Bills in Buffalo

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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.

The newly-formed stadium committee will meet for the first time soon, and its recommendations are expected in two years.

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.

51 responses to “New stadium could be the key to keeping Bills in Buffalo

  1. You gotta love how sports franchises work these days. Hold the city and taxpayers hostage or we’re leaving.

  2. Make sure you get absolutely no public money when building this new Stadium. It wouldn’t be fair to Steve Ross and the Miami Dolphins.

  3. I’m not a Bills fan but I think it’s wrong to deprive a fan base that has supported them of their team. Have some respect for Ralph Wilson and keep the team in Buffalo

  4. If the Bills wind up leaving, depriving loyal fans of Buffalo the team they’ve rooted for & supported through good times & bad – & as we all know lately it’s been all bad, then I want no part of a league who would not do all it can to keep this team in Buffalo. We don’t have much here in Buffalo, but you will not find greater fans that what we have here in Buffalo. That’s got to count for something.

  5. Yea, let’s take away a team we’ve supported for over 50 years, through good times & bad. If the league won’t do everything it can to keep this team in Buffalo, then I want no part of the NFL. Doesn’t 50 plus years of loyalty count for something?

  6. I hope they figure out a way to get a stadium built. Building it exactly where Ralph Wilson Stadium is would be an added bonus. Not only does that land have many great memories made there, but It is the perfect spot for what Bills Fans enjoy almost as much as football itself, that’s Tailgating. There is too much history with the Buffalo Bills and Orchard Park to let the team leave. #GetItDone

  7. Option 1: Threaten to move the team to L.A. until local politicians cave and give you hundreds of millions of dollars for a new stadium.

    Option 2: Move the team to L.A. or any other city with more corporate money than Buffalo.

    Either way, the Wilson heirs win and the city of Buffalo loses.

    On a side note, the patriarch of the Chargers just turned 90. The same scenario will play out in San Diego before too long.

  8. This will come down to whether or not the Wilson family makes decisions with their heads or their hearts.

    Committing to a new stadium in Buffalo renders the franchise virtually unsellable. The Buffalo market simply will not support the type of stadium today’s prospective NFL owner wants. See: “as many luxury suites as I can possibly jam in there”.

    RW Stadium has like 75 luxury suites. Jerry World has 375. A new stadium in LA would probably have more than that. Someone pointed out in an article yesterday that there are more private citizens in Los Angeles that could afford a luxury suite than there are corporations that could afford one in Buffalo.

    Do the fans in Buffalo deserve to lose their team? Of course not. But the NFL has long stopped caring about the everyday fan in pursuit of the almighty dollar. Goodell has stated over and over again the league WILL have a team in LA and has also stated he has no plans for expansion. That obviously means he plans on robbing SOME fan base of their team. You think he cares whose it is?

    BTW, everyone who ridiculed Mark Cuban the other day- this is exactly the kind of thing he was talking about. The NFL continually makes business decisions with no concern for the average fan.

    And unless the Wilson family is able to resist both the lure of big money offers to sell without committing to a new stadium AND pressure from the league not to anchor the franchise to a small market, I don’t see a happy ending here for the loyal fans in Buffalo.

  9. Once a team actually moves to L.A., what city will the NFL use to extort stadium money from cities? Do they think anyone is actually buying that they want teams in Toronto and London?

    What is the over/under on number of years the L.A. team actually stays in L.A.?

  10. Not to mention this is one of the most historic franchises in NFL history.

    They will move a garbage team, supported by garbage fans…like Jacksonville, Oakland, San Diego, St. Louis, etc.

    Nobody is worried about the Bills leaving.

  11. As a Jets fan living in the heart of Bills country I would say it would devastating for the Bills to leave. But the only way I could see them staying is if they built a new stadium between Buffalo and Rochester. Most season ticket-holders are from Rochester and it makes sense to try and get as many people in the seats. So why not have the two cities support them. I would also like to see them be ran by the people of western New York, kinda like how Green Bay is run. Too much history there to be lost and it’d be a tragedy for their (hate to say it) great fans.

  12. Again, have the stadium by Niagara Falls.

    It’s attractive and makes the area a hot spot again.

    It needs to be indoors with 50,000-60,000 seats though. More people stay at home anyways and it will be less pricey to build.

  13. I have been a Bills fan since 1964 ( This year will be my Golden Anniversary as a Bills Fan ). I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Wilson on a couple of occasions through the years. He was a very practical man who set a good balance between football and business. Several years ago he made a comment about how the league was changing . He said that you used to go to owner’s meetings and talk about your team, possibly make some trades because everyone knew their teams. He said recently the meetings are about “revenue streams” and that many owners knew their star players,but they didn’t know who you were talking about when you mentioned their guard or safety. Ralph Wilson Stadium is undergoing
    $400 Million in renovations. It is already a great place to watch a game, there isn’t a large debt so ticket prices and revenue don’t need to be like Jerry World. If the New Owner’s take the practical approach that Mr. Wilson took , they can turn a nice profit with out having to support a new stadium in addition to the cost of the team.

  14. With Oakland, St. Louis or San Diego all possibly moving as soon as next season and what appears to be little progress in getting a new stadium in those cities I feel like LA will have a team by the the time the Bills are sold, which by all reports won’t be a year or two from now. If that’s the case the options for the Bills moving are slim to none. Both Toronto and London are tricky situations and would take maybe a decade to figure out various legal and other hurdles. Like the fact Toronto doesn’t have a viable NFL stadium.

  15. I’d love to see the Bills stay in Buffalo, but I’d doubt the Wilson Estate would agree to build a new stadium, knowing they are just going to sell it. The new owner would want to make his own decisions, and it would severely limit potential owners if they know they’d be locked into something, and the Wilson’s, I’m sure, want to make the most out of any deal.

  16. As a life long Buffalonian I really think with the new stadium committee that has been formed will eventually decide in due time that they will be able to get a new stadium built before the Bills actually go up for sale which would in turn , unable to move the Bills to any new owner. I also Bill- ieve that Ralph Wilsons family knew how much the city of Buffalo meant to Mr Wilson and they will do anything in their power to keep the Bills in Buffalo for the long haul.

  17. The new stadium should be built in Niagara Falls, New York. It’s centrally located for Western New York and Ontario, Canada. That way fans from all over can go see the team, they’ll still be called the Buffalo Bills and they become one of the bigger regional teams. To let this team move, I honestly think would be like letting the Green Bay Packers move which is another popular REGIONAL team in the NFL.

  18. There is no legacy to protect, no city wants the Bills, even their Toronto Neighbors don’t the Bills.

    They have no where to go. Who wants a team with losing legacy, and a record of losing 4 straight Super Bowls in a row.

    They will stay, an upgrade the stadium.

    Bill fans have nothing to worry about. Stop playing the L.A. card, it won’t work with the Bills.

  19. The browns were given everything to return to the league no matter how had their politicians screwed Modell. The browns fans should be thanking art Modell every night when they hit their knees for what he gave back to their city. He was under no obligation to do so.

    Buffalo will move or they will go bankrupt. They cannot compete in current day nfl economics.

  20. Model gave nothing to the city. We put 78000 a game in there and he moved the team? Then, the NFL set em up to fail the way it structured the return. Yes, ineptness has ruled; but 99-04 was on the league.

  21. You fans in buffalo want to keep the team then you better get ready to pay. What new owner wants a 40 year old stadium? Yes if the city of buffalo wants to keep the bills then it’s going to have to show the new owner. All that flack this site and the NFL comminity gave Ross for just trying to improve the stadium in Miami with help from the city. Let’s see how many hypocrits are on this site. Start demanding no tax payers money! No tax payers money more Buffalo Bills.

  22. Baltimore stole our team and has to tell itself that it did a dirty despicable thing? I wouldn’t urinate on Baltimore if it was on fire. In Ohio, Modell is Satan. NEVER IN THE HALL.

  23. Enough welfare for billionaires already !!!!

    The greed level of the NFL is beyond disgusting these days.

  24. There is no way we are going to be thanking Art Modell on our knees, EVER. Ravens fans cannot tell us how to feel.

  25. New stadium is moot. The one thing, the only thing that really matters is who the eventual buyer is. The buyer who ends up with the team will already have the agenda to move, or to stay, long before they buy. Everything else is speculation.

    Rumor has it there are several local billionaires in play to buy them in order to keep them there. Let’s hope that’s true. If someone else buys them, they’re history.

  26. Since all NFL teams are wildly profitable, the only question here is the relative greed of potential buyers and the current sellers. Some buyers will definitely want to squeeze the maximum amount of profit out of the team; other buyers may not, though. And indications are that the Wilson family — already incredibly rich — is not particularly greedy, at least not when compared to the Dan Snyder’s of the world. Also, one cannot underestimate the factors of the state and county in this equation. Gov. Cuomo is particularly avid to maintain a strong base of voters in Western NY, and has been pouring large sums into our economy. Look for an agreement on a new waterfront stadium in the next 2 years.

  27. By the way Toronto doesn’t deserve a team either.They are a Toronto Maple Leaf town only.Total whackos.

  28. The Bills sell out every ticket year after year for almost every game despite having one of the larger stadiums in one of the smallest markets. The Bills are more than a football team here. They represent the collective diligence of a blue collar work force of underdogs who know their community isn’t LA or New York City but they are proud to call it home. Despite a decade and a half of no playoff appearances, games in Toronto, and other fan bases mocking us, the loyalty of Bills nation has never wavered and never will. It wouldn’t be moving a football team, it would be the heart of Western New York pulled from its chest.

  29. This is getting tiring. There are 5 or 6 teams that always seem to be on the verge of moving. Besides maybe a year or two here and there these teams have been bad for a decade plus.

  30. No offense to all the Bills fans out there, but let them move. The flow of tax dollars into billionaires’ pockets needs to stop. Even if it means relocation of teams. (Granted, thatt’s easy for me to say – my tax dollars are financing two new stadiums here in Minneapolis. My teams ain’t going anywhere.)

  31. I wouldn’t be too concerned about any team ever moving to LA. The NFL wants LA to remain without a team so it can continue to be used as the big bad boogey man when these owners are trying to coerce the tax payers to help foot the bill on their new stadium. I suppose if that ever stops working, then they might finally move a team in there, but it hasn’t really failed them yet.

  32. After Hugh Culverhouse started the descent to his eternal residence, the Bucs were pretty much in the exact same position. The family of course went for the highest bidder, turning down local favorites like the Outback Steakhouse group that were committed to keeping the team in Tampa. Our good friends the Glazers put their revolver into the temple of the public and forced a public referendum for a sales tax increase (and additional considerations) to pay for a new stadium or we would have been the Baltimore Bucs. The bill passed by the narrowest of margins, and the greedmongers got what they wanted.

    In spite of it all the greasy palms, I still am thankful to this day to have a team. I have to say that was an extremely stressful time to be a diehard fan, so I can relate to the uneasiness of the Bills nation. I wish you the best of luck and hope you’re able to bring your grandchildren to the games to keep the passion alive for generations to come.

  33. Buffalo fans are as stupid as the Cleveland fans are. The league doesn’t care if they have 78,ooh fans or 780,000 fans in their stadium. Cleveland woundnt build a new stadium with psl’s and luxury boxes. That is why they lost their team, as buffalo will. The browns fans should get down on their whinny knees each night and thank Modell for giving them their history back. The nfl doesn’t care about an of the fans of these cities, it is all about the dead presidents.

  34. I may be old school but as nice and cozy as an indoor stadium sounds, Buffalo has won many, many games due to the weather in December and January in Orchard Park. Why would we want to give up the advantage of playing teams like Miami in December in a warm, comfortable stadium rather than 10 degree, blizzard type, 20 mph winds typical day in Western New York? I sure as heck don’t hear teams like the Bears, Jets, Giants, Patriots, Browns, Eagles and The Frozen Tundra’s own Packers talk nonsense about an indoor stadium. Nope! The answer is simple….The Bills need to put a winning team out on the field, one that consistently makes the playoffs and is a serious contender for the Super Bowl every year and all this “moving” talk and a new stadium talk will magically disappear!

  35. I like the Bills in Buffalo. I like having small market teams (I’m a Jags fan). I like how any NFL team has a realistic shot and going to the playoffs year after year. With that said, Buffalo needs a new stadium, about 65,000 and for the roof to be retractable. The Bills often do have troubles welling out their stadium. 1. The team has been bad for years. 2. the stadium is too large. 3. Good lord it gets cold in Buffalo.

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