Buffalo Bills commit to Ralph Wilson Stadium for several more years
The Buffalo Bills are staying in Western New York for at least the next seven years. Governor Andrew Cuomo, Erie County and the Bills organization signed a 10-year lease agreement Friday to keep the team at Ralph Wilson Stadium. YNN's Kaitlyn Lionti tells us more about the deal.
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- The Buffalo Bills will continue to call Ralph Wilson Stadium their home for several seasons to come.
"I am on the team. Go Bills, go Buffalo, go Western New York!" said Governor Andrew Cuomo.
New York State, Erie County and the Bills have a new lease agreement that lasts 10 years and locks the team in for at least seven, regardless of ownership.
"This is another shining example of Mr. Wilson's loyalty, his commitment to Western New York, and our unwavering belief that this franchise can succeed long term in this region," said Russ Brandon, CEO of the Buffalo Bills.
Under the agreement, if the Bills would leave before the seven years are up, they could end up paying a $400 million penalty.
After that, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz says the Bills could buy out the the last three years for about $28 million.
But he says, if they wanted to leave, they could have already done so for much less.
"Last year, they could have left this community for $2 million dollars based on the prior lease. I know we have a strong commitment from Mr. Wilson and the Bills organization," said Poloncarz.
The agreement also focuses on improving the fan experience. It includes a combined $130 million from the Bills organization, the county, and the state to make upgrades to the stadium.
Cuomo said, "It's an investment in the Bills, it's an investment in Western New York and I'm proud to make that investment."
The agreement also calls for a "New Stadium Working Group," bringing together the county, state and the Bills to explore the potential for building a new stadium in the future.
"So we have not only the Bills here for the next 10 years, but we have the Bills here for generations to enjoy," said Poloncarz.
And he says the agreement also allows the county and state to set aside money for a new facility in the last three years of the lease.
"Half of the money we would normally spend for Ralph Wilson upgrades would be put into a separate account to be used for design and construction of a brand new stadium," said Poloncarz.