According to a story in The Buffalo News, all of the parties involved, the Bills, New York State and Erie County, have been unable to get together for negotiations since June 29.
The delay in talks means the possibility of NFL funds being used for part of the cost through the league’s G-4 program is on hold as well. The next league meeting is in October but the snag in talks will prohibit the Bills stadium improvements from being on the agenda.
During his weekly segment on the WGR Morning Show, Bills CEO Russ Brandon said this shouldn’t be viewed as bad news. “As we’ve stated all along, this is a process” Brandon said. “ All negotiations are. Its not going to happen overnight. Our whole focus all along has been to get a long term lease done and that remains our focus. Our main thing is to re-start the process, set a new calendar and continue to move forward and work on a long term agreement.”
The Bills will now have to wait until the NFL’s Spring meetings in March to present a proposal for the G-4 funding. Even if it doesn’t jeopardize the chances of a long term deal, it does at the very least delay the renovation work on Ralph Wilson Stadium.
“We have continued to invest in our design development and all of our construction planning” Brandon told WGR. “ All the work’s going to continue to get done on our end and at the same time, hopefully come to an agreement over the next few months and then start the work at some point in late thirteen"(2013).
When asked if the Bills would pay for part of the renovation costs, Brandon would only say “Its all part of the negotiation.” When asked if the Bills will ask for G-4 funding from the NFL as part of the lease deal, Brandon again limited his response to “Its all part of the negotiation.”
It is possible the Bills could agree to a one year interim lease and continue negotiations on a long term deal.
One other note of interest from the conversation with the Bills CEO dealt with ticket sales. Brandon said there are close to 9000 tickets left for the November 15th prime time game with Miami although he is hopeful it will sell out. The three December games at Ralph Wilson Stadium are a different story as there are some 20,000 tickets remaining for each of those games.