It has long been speculated that the Bills would wind up moving across the border to Toronto, but that won’t be happening in this decade, writes John Kryk of the Toronto Sun. It’s late owner Ralph Wilson’s last “enormous gift” to the people of Western New York, says sports-franchise consultant Marc Ganis: a clause that bars anyone that buys the Bills from relocating the team from the Buffalo area at any time over the remaining nine years of their lease agreement. The agreement expires after the 2022 season and no owner can move the Bills sooner than the team’s out clause after the 2019 season.
It was previously believed that there was a $400MM buyout option on the club’s lease agreement, but Ganis says that’s not the case. The buyout only comes in to play in the extremely unlikely event that the new owner wins a court judgment allowing them to pick up the team and move. Even if the courts say they can move the Bills, they’ll still have to pay out a $400MM penalty.
“In this new 10-year lease that he signed, for the first seven years there is no opportunity to buy that lease out, or terminate it. None. That team is required to stay in that stadium for at least for the first seven years, and one year already has passed in that lease, so for the next six years,” Ganis explained.
The Bills have played a handful of preseason and regular season games in Toronto since 2008.