The Buffalo Bills could be moving a few miles north in the coming years.
As a stadium committee begins to look at options for the aging Ralph Wilson Stadium, they have reportedly begun exploring the option of relocating the team in nearby Niagara Falls.
Several team and state officials told The Associated Press that a newly formed stadium task force, which includes public and private leaders, is looking into all options to promote the team’s long-term viability. Moving to Niagara Falls would accomplish this, while also staying close to the large base of fans in southern Ontario.
“We’re looking at Niagara County,” Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy told the AP this week. “We’re open to looking at a number of venues.”
While the Buffalo Bills may end up moving a few miles away to Niagara Falls, the chances that the team leaves the region entirely seem small. Sources have said that late owner Ralph Wilson Jr. built a clause into the Ralph Wilson Stadium lease that would require the team stay in Buffalo, at least for the 10-year period of the lease.
The news came from Marc Ganis, president of Sports Corp. Ltd. via the Canadian website Canoe.
“I’m very familiar with the Bills’ new lease in Buffalo, and Ralph Wilson gave the people of Buffalo and Western New York an enormous gift,” Ganis said. “In this new 10-year lease that he signed, for the first seven years there is no opportunity to buy that lease out, or terminate it. None. That team is required to stay in that stadium for at least for the first seven years, and one year already has passed in that lease, so for the next six years.”
If the Buffalo Bills do move to Niagara Falls, it would not be for another few years. As Ganis mentioned, the lease has only a one-year window for the team to leave Buffalo, and that’s still seven years away.