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Bills Beat Blog

By Joe Buscaglia
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Goodell optimistic about Bills staying, says new stadium needed

The ownership situation surrounding the Buffalo Bills at the present moment is unclear at best. While there are prospective owners talking privately and some making their interest known in a more public forum, there still isn't an answer as to who is going to be running the show once the sale of the team is complete.

Speaking with reporters in New York City just a day ahead of the 2014 NFL Draft, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell remained optimistic about the long-term prospects of the Bills remaining in Buffalo.

"I’ve had a lot of discussions with prospective owners, but I’ve also had discussions with public officials," Goodell said, according to The Buffalo News. "We all want to focus and get that stadium and do it the right way and get the right ownership in there to make sure they continue to be successful in Western New York."

The key words in that quote center around the term "new stadium." Goodell was asked more directly, and clarified whether or not he felt a new stadium was necessary for the Bills in Buffalo.

"Yes I do," he said according to The Toronto Sun. "We said at the time when they entered into their new lease, that this is really a short-term solution. We need to find the right long-term solution that is good for the community and can help the Bills continue to be successful in Western New York, and I’m confident we’ll get there."

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz released a statement on Wednesday regarding the potential locations for a new stadium:

“I, like Governor Andrew Cuomo, am committed to keeping the Bills in Buffalo for generations to come regardless of who the new owner may be. As evidence of this commitment, consultants have been retained on behalf of the state and county to prepare options for the consideration of prospective owners that will include (1) a new stadium to be constructed at one or more possible locations and (2) the further renovation or retrofit of Ralph Wilson Stadium beyond the renovations currently being undertaken. At this time, all options should be part of the discussion and nothing should be disregarded. We look forward to commencing these discussions with an owner who is likewise committed to keeping the team here in its first, and what should be its only, home territory of Buffalo and Erie County.”

The team is not yet in the actual sale process and still is waiting for a bank to conduct the sale, and then the future of the team gets decided by both the trust and the National Football League for approval. The Associated Press reported last week that a new owner could be identified by July.

The current lease still has nine years to go with a brief window after the 2019 season that allows the owner of the team to move the franchise for a $28.4 million buyout. The team was valued last year by Forbes at $870 million.

Twitter: @JoeBuscaglia

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