The Buffalo Bills have seemingly been a candidate for relocation for years now, but the passing of long time owner and big time proponent of keeping the Bills in Buffalo, Ralph Wilson, has complicated matters and made his passing even more of a somber occasion.
Fans are hoping that the death of Wilson isn’t the death of the Bills in Buffalo, but there’s growing concern that this could be the case. But all is not completely lost as the Bills can’t submit for relocation until after the 2019 season and that may give a local ownership group enough time to mobilize and save the Bills.
Bills beat writer Donn Esmonde of The Buffalo News spoke with a pair of sports business professors who pondered that the wealth of moving the Bills to Los Angeles could be hindered by the loss of history the Bills would leave behind.
“The NFL, as a brand and image, likes those iconic, cold-weather, visceral places like Buffalo,” Fay said. “The league has to weigh the benefits and the costs – not just monetary – of extracting Buffalo from its equation.”
Of course, if they moved a hockey team from Minnesota to Dallas, that right there tells you how much professional executives care about history over prestige and prosperity. Still, local ownership groups have kept teams where they are before — most recently the Sacramento Kings — so it’s not out of the question that someone could end up saving the Bills before 2020.
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