Tonawanda News — The Bills are entering their 55th year since being among founding teams of the American Football League.
Wilson's death has brought questions because the Pro Football Hall of Fame member failed to provide a clear succession plan. The Bills are expected to be operated out of a trust and then sold, raising the possibility a new owner could relocate the team.
The Bills are essentially locked into playing at Ralph Wilson Stadium through 2019. The lease features a $400 million penalty the Bills would have to pay in the event a court ruled in favor of the team breaking its lease. In 2020, the Bills have a one-time opportunity to opt out of the lease for about $28 million.
Several local groups have already been formed with an eye on keeping the franchise in Buffalo.
Two years ago, Nicholas Stracick established the Greater Buffalo Sports and Entertainment Complex. The group is proposing to use private and public funds to build a $1.4 billion waterfront sports and entertainment facility that would include a 70,000-plus-seat, retractable-roofed stadium to one day serve as the Bills' new home.
The group's proposal has the backing of Buffalo's city council, but has not been recognized by the Bills.
Earlier this year, longtime Bills season-ticket holder Matt Sabuda, helped found the Buffalo Fan Alliance. The group is proposing to seek donations from Bills fans to raise $200 million. The funds would be made available to the next owner in the form of an interest-free loan to help offset purchase or capital costs.