Forget the Mayans. Set your timers to July 30, 2013.
Nick Mendola crafted a foreboding piece last year about the expiration date of the lease the Bills hold with Ralph Wilson Stadium, and the comparative expiration date on the lifespan of that stadium. It was a call to action for fans of the Buffalo Bills.
For every Bills fan, it is a critical read.
The stadium, by the way, is a beautiful trainwreck. The beauty lies in the passion that lives there a handful of weekend days every year. The wreckage is in the painful truth that it’s badly behind 95 percent of its peers. Many in the know will tell you that its infrastructure needs thousands upon thousands of dollars of work just to keep it up to code. Even worse than that, if Bills owner Ralph Wilson were to ink a lease extension to stay in our celebrated dump, it’d be worse than simple folly, it’d be bad business.
Meanwhile, Los Angeles is going full-steam ahead on the plan to build a new stadium, and lure an NFL team through its gates. On February 7th, AEG made an announcement of a 30-year, $700 million naming-rights deal between AEG and Farmers Insurance.
Bills hall of fame QB Jim Kelly has said that he has a mystery partnership in place to purchase the Bills when Ralph Wilson Jr. decides to finally sell the team. But business is business, and his partners might prefer pastures that are more the color of money when they hear that AEG is “putting up one billion dollars privately, wherein a team could walk into a brand new stadium without paying a penny.”Teams are on the rumor list include the Buffalo Bills, Jacksonville Jaguars, Minnesota Vikings, Oakland Raiders, San Diego Chargers, and the St. Louis Rams. It’s also entirely plausible that AEG could lure not one – but two NFL franchises.
Fans in Buffalo mostly agree that their guts tell them that the Bills aren’t going anywhere. But there is a great deal of work to be done in order to keep them here, and in order to keep the AEG football vultures away from circling over The Ralph.
Indeed, football is all about guts. It’s too bad the business side of it is not.