Bills, local government agree to one-year extension of lease
Only a few hours after reporting that the Buffalo Bills discussion with local officials over the lease of Ralph Wilson stadium had failed, news is now breaking of something opposite. It was just announced that the Buffalo Bills and the local Erie County government has agreed to a one-year extension of the team’s lease on Ralph Wilson Stadium.
That means the Buffalo Bills will have a home for the 2013 NFL Season and hopefully beyond.
The current lease was set to expire next July 31, but now they are locked in for 2013 while discussions continue on a permanent solution.
“Nobody wants to have a gun at their heads thinking if we don’t get it done by the end of the season then what’s going to happen,” County executive Mark Poloncarz told the Associated Press. “By doing an extension, it guarantees the Bills are here for the full 2013 season, and it gives us ample time during the next 18 months or so to continue these negotiations.”
Of course, the extension may sound like a relief, but the reality is the long-term future of the Bills is very much in flux.
Owner Ralph Wilson, 93, has said he will instruct his heirs to sell the team rather than keep it in the family after his death.
“I’m not going to sit here and say that Mr. Wilson’s age or health is not a factor because it is,” Poloncarz said. “I’m not going to ignore it. . . . No. We’re going to continue to move forward. And I’m hopeful that we’re going to get a lease done as soon as possible. I’m just disappointed it’s not going to get done by the end of this year.”