SBD/17/Franchises

NEW BUFFETT LINE ADDS BILLS; ERIE COUNTY OK'S LATEST LEASE

          The Bills "are adding another heavy hitter to their
     sales team hawking luxury boxes and club seats" in
     billionaire investor Warren Buffett, according to Gene
     Warner of the BUFFALO NEWS.  Bills Owner Ralph Wilson and
     NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue said Wednesday that Buffett
     will attend a September 9 reception in Buffalo as part of
     the Bills' push to sell $11M in luxury suites to keep the
     team in Buffalo at least six more years.  The Bills also
     announced that they've sold 95 luxury boxes and $6.3M worth
     of boxes and club seats, or about 57% of their goal for the
     '99 season.  The team also unveiled a new concept for the
     sale of premium seats under which regional clubs like the
     Rochester Club and the Toronto Club "will allow business
     people from the same hometown to sit together and network
     with each other in club seats or suites."  The September 9
     reception will be an event for roughly 500 suite holders and
     prospective customers, with Buffett making a short speech
     and then answering questions (BUFFALO NEWS, 7/16).
          ERIE NEWS: The Erie County legislature OK'd the Bills'
     proposed lease at Rich Stadium, a "major hurdle."  The team
     will receive all revenues from the facility as well as an
     exemption from paying operating or game-day expenses.  The
     team will also get $3M annual grant from NY as "working
     capital."  County Exec Dennis Gorski "expressed confidence"
     the Bills will meet their goal of selling $11M in luxury
     seats, but he noted that the lease also allows a "a figure
     satisfactory" to the team.  Gorski: "The [$11M] threshold is
     a figure that is arbitrary" (BUFFALO NEWS, 7/17).
  
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