While many groups interested in buying the Bills may be interested in moving the franchise somewhere besides western New York, it looks like it’ll be an uphill battle to uproot the team. In addition to a stadium lease that makes it extremely difficult to relocate the Bills for the next several years, many of the NFL owners seem inclined to keep the club where it is. As Tim Graham of the Buffalo News details, Giants owner John Mara said today that he and many of his fellow owners are hoping for an outcome that allows the Bills to remain in Buffalo.
“The team means so much to that area,” Mara said. “It’s been a great franchise for the league. I think most of the people in that room would like to see it remain in Buffalo.”
Here’s more on the Bills’ future and the sale of the franchise:
- Not all of the NFL’s owners have been unequivocal in stating their support for keeping the Bills in Buffalo. While lauding Jon Bon Jovi as a potentially “outstanding” future NFL owner, Jerry Jones of the Cowboys noted that the league wants to “create every opportunity we can to involve more fans.”
- Added Jones: “At the end of the day, it’s my town against your town, Cowboys against whoever we’re playing. To the end that we can create more rivalries and involve larger viewing audiences, populations, that’s something that you have to look at when you get a chance to, and that’s the debate between Buffalo and Toronto.”
- Although Jones’ comments appear to leave the door open for a possible relocation to Canada, Graham hears that one Toronto-based group with interest in buying the Bills is reconsidering since moving the team may be difficult (Twitter link). Similarly, Judy Battista of NFL.com (Twitter link) was told by a source with knowledge of the sale that “whoever buys it has to be prepared to stay there.”
- As for the sale itself, the Bills are close to identifying the investment bank and legal firm that will handle the sale, according to club president and CEO Russ Brandon, who says a selection of a bank should happen by the end of the month (link via Graham). Brandon declined to name potential bidders for the franchise, but added that interest level is “high” (Twitter link via Adam Benigni of NBC Buffalo).