Buffalo Bills Will Stay In Western New York Until 2055
For Buffalo Bills fans, trekking to Orchard Park on Sundays is a sacred pilgrimage. Through rain, sleet, and snow, dedicated fans have cheered on their beloved team in their stadium for decades.
The threat of moving the Bills to a city outside of Buffalo is an ongoing nightmare for fans. We would never get over it if they yanked our team out of Western New York, and we’re not quick to forgive anyone who threatens it.
(Even years later, we still can’t hear a Bon Jovi song without seething.)
Frightened Bills fans can finally breathe easier for at least another 30 years, thanks to stipulations included in the lease agreement of their new stadium.
Bills Finalize New Stadium Plans
It’s been over a year since the Bills, Erie County and New York State agreed on a deal to build a new stadium. Since then, construction plans for the $1.54 billion project have rolled out to fans for the scheduled opening in 2026.
Many fans expressed their outrage about the stadium agreement when it was revealed how much New York State and Erie County taxpayer money would be used to build it.
Although the Bills will foot approximately $450 million of the bill, $850 million in public funds will be used towards construction of the new stadium.
However, documents released by Erie County reveal several requirements the Bills must follow to make sure local fans will get their money’s worth for years to come.
Buffalo Bills Have A Non-Relocation Agreement
To the relief of fans, the document says the Bills can’t look into relocating the team until at least 2050, and even then, the team can’t make a move until their lease is up in 2055.
More specifically, the agreement states that the Bills can’t:
- “relocate, transfer or otherwise move the Team (or attempt to relocate, transfer or otherwise move the Team…) to a location other than the Stadium”
- “sell, assign or otherwise transfer the Team to any Person who, to the Bills’ knowledge, has an intention to relocate, transfer or otherwise move the Team during the Non-Relocation Term to a location other than the Stadium”
- “entertain any offer or proposal to relocate the Team to a location other than the Stadium”
What Happens If The Bills Decide To Move Anyway?
If the Buffalo Bills break their non-relocation agreement and look into moving the franchise, it could subject them to litigation and a hefty financial penalty.
In order to move, the team would have to take their case to court, where a judge would most likely deny their request and force them to abide by their lease agreement.
However, in the unlikely event that they succeed, the Bills would be required to pay back all public contributions towards the project, plus interest.
That means if they even entertain the idea of moving before the stadium lease is up, the Bills will have to fork over approximately $1 billion to do it.
Is there a tiny chance the Bills could go back on their word and take our team away from us? Of course.
But with these protections in place, we can sleep better at night knowing we’ll probably have at least 30 more years of “Heyy ayyyyy ayyyyy ayyyyyy!”’s to come.
Besides, even if the Bills aren’t scared of the legal repercussions, they should be petrified of the Bills Mafia.
Just ask Jon Bon Jovi.
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