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SBD/July 16, 2012/Franchises
Bills Opt Out Of New Blackout Policy; Talks Continue Over New Stadium Lease Deal
Published July 16, 2012
WORK IN PROGRESS: Erie County Exec Mark Poloncarz said, "I'm not surprised with the result. I feel if they went with the blackout rule, they would have asked for more money." He said that Buffalo "is not in a large market like New York City or San Francisco, and this move reflects that." Poloncarz: "We don't have the economic resources that those other cities do" (BUFFALO NEWS, 7/14). In Buffalo, Gee, Warner & Gaughan noted Poloncarz "wants a new lease that ties the Buffalo Bills to Ralph Wilson Stadium for many years." But how long the state and county "can ensure the Bills stay in Buffalo will depend on several factors." One factor is the "length of the lease, expected to be 10 to 15 years." Another is "how much of a financial penalty the team would face for leaving." Also, whether the county "can get the Bills to agree to clauses like those in the Jacksonville Jaguars' lease, considered perhaps the most ironclad" in the NFL. But it "might be hard to get an ironclad guarantee that would prevent the Buffalo Bills from leaving town during the duration of their next stadium lease agreement." Some kind of assurance that the Bills will stay in Buffalo "is believed to be key." The Bills "were not planning on having an ironclad guarantee in the new deal." While it is "not known whether they could be talked into the idea," the two sides "can look to the closest thing the NFL has to a guarantee, the Jacksonville situation." A framework of the deal "could be agreed to in the next couple of weeks" (BUFFALO NEWS, 7/15).