SBD/September 24, 2012/Facilities

Optimism Growing That Bills, New York Will Reach Agreement To Extend Stadium Lease

New York is seeking financial protection in new lease agreement with Bills
Over the weekend, "two developments offered optimism for a deal" between New York and the Bills for a new stadium lease, according to Tom Precious of the BUFFALO NEWS. The first was "a meeting in Manhattan on Friday between just state and county officials." But the "more promising sign might have been that Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo spoke twice within 24 hours" to Bills Treasurer Jeffrey Littmann, who is a "key adviser" to Bills Owner Ralph Wilson. After those talks, "pessimism that the Cuomo administration expressed earlier in the week about team officials' resolve to keep the Bills in Buffalo seemed to subside." One state official on Saturday said, "Now we feel there is room to work and that there is good faith on both sides." Bills officials also "seemed optimistic Saturday." Senior administration officials said that the Cuomo administration "believes a reasonable lease commitment is 10 years." One state official said, "We need to know that we are financially protected in the case of the disaster scenario: that the Bills leave. If we invest to fix the stadium and they leave, we'll be heart broken. But we also don't want to be out $200 million." While some Bills fans and officials "have floated the idea of a new stadium, state officials said no such talks have occurred behind closed doors, and the team has only talked about renovating its current home" (BUFFALO NEWS, 9/23). In Buffalo, Harold McNeil noted the talks on Friday were described as "very productive" (BUFFALO NEWS, 9/22).
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