Tonawanda News — “They were aggressively trying to figure out how to tap that Canadian marketplace because of the economics,” Giambra said.
Niagara Falls is 30 minutes closer by car than Orchard Park to a growing southern Ontario fan base. The Bills estimate Canadians make up about 18 percent of their season-ticket base.
Dyster is aware of discussions regarding the advantages of Niagara Falls’ location, but said it’s premature to suggest what recommendations might emerge.
“The critical thing here is that we all have to come together as a region to make certain that we keep the Bills here,” Dyster said. “If we lose the Bills, we’re all losers.”
Another idea is having the Bills relocate their headquarters to the University at Buffalo campus in the Erie County town of Amherst, where a new practice facility would be built and shared with the school’s football team. That proposal would satisfy a long-term need for a Mid-American Conference program seeking to broaden its profile.
Though not a member of the working group, New York state Sen. Tim Kennedy told the AP he is aware of the preliminary discussions tying the Bills and the school. A person familiar with the discussions confirmed the Bills/UB plan has been raised. That person wasn’t authorized to publicly discuss the subjects raised in the private meeting and spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity.
Duffy and Dyster are among 20 members of the stadium group, which was established to make recommendations on whether the Bills require a new facility or should continue playing at Ralph Wilson Stadium, their 41-year-old home in Orchard Park. The group was formed as part of a 10-year, $271-million lease agreement the team reached with the state and Erie County in December 2012.
The group’s role in helping determine the Bills’ future took on more significance after Ralph Wilson, the team’s owner and founder, died on March 25. Wilson’s widow, Mary Wilson, is now overseeing the team until the franchise is sold, which raises the possibility of the Bills relocating under a new owner.