The Buffalo Bills signed a ten year lease almost a year ago (Dec. 21, 2012) much to the chagrin of Western New York residents. The beloved Bills haven’t had a playoff team since 1999, but that hasn’t kept the team from becoming the most important asset in the Western New York area. The team will be sold after the death of owner and long time CEO Ralph Wilson Jr., but his family has made no mention of their plans on what they will do with the team after he passes.
At the age of 95, and having failing health issues over the last few years, we’re closer to that inevitability than any of us think. One thing is certain, the family has no intention of owning the team after he passes. If we are to keep the team in Western New York, then it’s time to do something we probably should have done years ago, Build a New Stadium! The Ralph, or Rich Stadium, or whatever you like to call it has been generously updated over time, but the renovations are a stop gap for the inevitable truth. If this team is to stay in the area, local government has to step up with financing options to build a new stadium in Downtown Buffalo!
The Bills have long been rumored for relocation to Los Angeles, but in reality the NFL has no real intention of letting the team go there. They’ve almost said as much, becuase if they wanted this team in the LA region, lets face it, we’d be there already! The more realistic idea is that Jacksonville, or Minnesota could move, but it’s not impossible for a buyer to purchase the Bills and move them after 7 years (When the fine to move them would only be 25 million, instead of 400 million if they left any time in the first 7 years of the lease). The team is worth well over 600 million dollars, but a brand new home in the downtown area could be a jewel in the cities crown that has been missing for years. Lets hope politicians and the people can get this one done before the current lease allows them to walk for next to nothing!
- Movin’ On Up: Buffalo Bills 2014 Draft (buffalowdown.com)