Friday, December 21, 2012
Bills agree to 10-year lease
By James Walker
The Buffalo Bills finally resolved their stadium issue. On Friday the Buffalo News reported the Bills agreed a new 10-year lease at Ralph Wilson.
This keeps the Bills in Western, New York. However, there is an out in the lease that should be concerning for Bills fans. The team can leave Buffalo after seven years for a relatively small penalty of $29 million. For perspective, that's about half of what the team paid quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick ($59 million) in 2011. The penalty for the Bills leaving before 2020 is a significant $400 million.
That pretty much amounts to a "band-aid" contract for the next seven years. Ralph Wilson Stadium reportedly will get $130 million in revovations, with $35 million being paid by the team and $95 million being paid by county and state tax payers. Both sides compromised from the previous estimate of $200 million or more, mainly due to the difficult economic conditions in western New York.
The good news with this lease is Bills fans do not have to worry about their team relocating for the next seven years. But the Bills' long-term future seems murky beyond 2020.