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Could Bills become the 'Niagara Bills'

doujl001 posted @ 2015年2月09日 13:44 in 未分类 , 123 阅读

Could Bills become the 'Niagara Bills'

We've established the unlikelihood of the NFL approving a Toronto bid group to buy the Buffalo Bills.

At least a Toronto bid group intent on relocating the franchise to Toronto at first chance early next decade.

The only known Toronto bidder confirmed by Nike NFL Jerseys China QMI Agency in April is co led by rocker Jon Bon Jovi and Maple Leaf Sports Entertainment chairman Larry Tanenbaum. The duo and their group had been planning to eventually relocate the Bills to Toronto.

"You'd see other Western New York bidders saying what the eff is going on? Now the price is Nike NFL Jerseys going to go up. And that group is going to be hard to beat."

Although buzz continues to emanate from Western New York that there could be a slew of bidders that a parade of tire kickers already has inquired with the Bills or Erie County over the past two months it's quite possible a bidding frenzy might not result. side," the source said. "(Donald) Trump is not being taken seriously. (Thomas) Golisano is.

"But what if Bon Jovi went to (New York state) governor (Andrew) Cuomo and said, 'All this talk about us relocating the team to Toronto is bull . He's stumping for re election in November a fortuitous, key factor as the Bills sale process unfurls this summer and is said to have his eye on a bid for the White House in 2016 on the Democratic ticket, should Hillary Clinton not run.

Pertinent to this discussion, Cuomo in May all but took over the search for a new Bills stadium site. More on that in Cheap Nike NFL Jerseys a moment.

Such an approach by Bon Jovi, as described above, surely would be enthusiastically received by Cuomo, the source said.

"Don't think the Cheap NFL Jerseys governor at that point wouldn't run as fast as he can to figure out if he can make that happen."

It's not hard to see why Cuomo would do that, and why the source sees the idea as a winner, especially for the Bills. It makes sense for a lot of reasons:

If Bon Jovi and Tanenbaum stick to their original relocation guns and do not publicly, and convincingly, declare a long term intention to keep the Bills in Western New York, then their bid is likely doomed. Thanks to a strict 10 year lease and non relocation agreement signed last year with the state and Erie County, the team effectively cannot leave county owned Ralph Wilson Stadium in south suburban Buffalo until a brief window in 2020 from February to July that year, for a $28.4 million penalty or otherwise until after the 2022 season. The spectre of the team leaving down the road apiece would almost certainly result in the locals abandoning the team in droves long before 2020. The 1995 Cleveland Browns mess would pale by comparison. In that one, owner Art Modell announced in November '95 he was relocating the franchise at season's end to Baltimore. In lame duck status, the Browns' three remaining home games played before livid, jilted, even vandalizing fans gave the NFL one of its worst black eyes of the modern era. A Toronto bound Bills franchise would face either five or (more likely) eight years of similar lame duck status.

Why eight years? Because, according to a prominent east coast sports franchise relocation expert, Item 3(b)(iv) of the Bills' non relocation agreement with the county and state prevents the Bills from planning to build (let alone putting a shovel in the ground for) any new stadium until reaching the 2020 out clause window. The state of New York and/or Erie County could seek immediate injunctive relief to prevent such action even a land purchase. As it takes a minimum two and a half years to build a stadium from planning start to finish, the Toronto bound Bills if the expert's analysis is correct would have little choice but to remain at the Ralph until the 2023 season. There wouldn't be any point in plunking down the 28 mil to opt out of the lease in early 2020.

But couldn't the Rogers Centre in downtown Toronto serve as an interim Bills home for the 2020, 2021 and 2022 seasons? At best, maybe. The disastrous Bills in Toronto series notwithstanding (it's on hold for 2014 but is likely dead), the former SkyDome is not compliant as a full time NFL stadium, first and foremost because its seating capacity (approximately 45,000 for NFL, according to Rogers Media Inc.) is below the league's traditional 50,000 seat minimum. But once the domed stadium's new grass playing surface goes in by the 2018 season for the primary tenant (Rogers owned Toronto Blue Jays), the lowest level seats no longer will be reconfigurable, a source said. That will preclude CFL games from being played at the Rogers Centre thereafter, and might be true of smaller surface NFL games too. If nothing else, if the Bills in Toronto series isn't already dead, the switch to grass at Rogers might ensure it is after 2017.

For all these reasons it is inconceivable that 75% of NFL owners would bless the sale of the Bills to a relocation intent Toronto group. To move the team would require the approval of 24 owners not once but twice, commissioner Roger Goodell told QMI Agency on May 7: the first time in a months away ownership approval vote, and again years later in a relocation vote.

As for a new stadium, an informed Toronto source says the Bon Jovi and Tanenbaum group had (rightly) counted on basically zero public sector funding to build a new NFL stadium in the Toronto area. Indeed, MLSE right now cannot even squeeze $10 million out of the feds to tweak their MLS team's stadium so as to accommodate the CFL's Toronto Argos, a Canadian pro sports institution that practically predates Confederation. And the Toronto group is not going to pay a billion plus for the Bills, then another billion from its own pockets to build a new stadium. Throw in the relocation fee to the NFL which, sources say, might be in the $100 $200 million range and the entire Bills bill, in Canadian dollars, might approach $3 billion. Uh, no. So if the Toronto group somehow gets the team, it might not have any choice but to pass the cost of the stadium along to ticket buyers in the form of PSLs. The dreaded personal seat licences. To pay for a billion dollar stadium that accommodates, say, 60,000, and without any other financial help (for the sake of argument), each seat's PSL would have to average $16,667. That's before the PSL owner bought one ticket. Would the NFL go for that?

But things are much different in America, re public sector financing of NFL stadiums. Infrastructure might be falling apart everywhere but, hey, municipalities, counties and states can always seem to come up hundreds of millions of dollars to appease the NFL and its local football team. The Minnesota Vikings just got half a billion out of the public sector to build their new stadium in Minneapolis. Similarly, if Bon Jovi and Tanenbaum team up with the Jacobs clan and plunk down roots, they could count on significant public sector funding for a new stadium. Cuomo practically has assured as much from the state's end on the campaign trail. side of the Niagara River than any purely Western New York bid group could.

Bon Jovi "remains passionate in his pursuit of an NFL franchise," his publicist Ken Sunshine informed QMI Agency exclusively in April. That the rocker is widely admired by NFL owners is no longer mere speculation or rumour. Both Jerry Jones of the Dallas Cowboys and John Mara of the New York Giants two of the most influential owners in the league confirmed as much to QMI Agency two weeks ago at the league's spring meeting in Atlanta. "There hasn't been anybody more qualified to be involved in sports ownership, or certainly ownership in the NFL, than Jon Bon Jovi," Jones said. Mara added the next day: "I think he'd be a great NFL owner. He's got a really good knowledge and passion for the game, and he's obviously a smart businessman. If he puts together the right group of people I think he could be a very successful owner." Commissioner Roger Goodell likes him too. The New England Patriots' Robert Kraft, also a close friend and admirer of Bon Jovi's, is another inner circle NFL owner whose opinion carries weight within the league's billionaires club. So NFL owners like the idea of Bon Jovi as an owner, and the majority of them like the idea of the Bills remaining in the Buffalo area, as Mara said two weeks ago. Seems like a two inch putt.

Tanenbaum, who made much of his $1.2 billion fortune as a construction magnate, actually has ties to Western New York. He attended Cornell University in Ithaca in the late 1960s and today is a member of Cornell's University Council. And as owner/governor of the Toronto Raptors, Tanenbaum is highly respected in NBA circles; he's now a member of that league's senior most owners committee, advisory/finance.

A Western New York source involved in the bid process said he still hears that the Jacobs family will not lead a bid for the Bills. Rather, it will sit back and be ready to potentially provide last moment "over the top" money for a leading bid group that might require it a group that would keep the team local, and a group the Jacobs family likes.

Tanenbaum certainly knows Jeremy Jacobs well. As respective governors of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Boston Bruins, the two have been attending NHL owners meetings together since the late 1990s. They are believed to be friendly, in spite of the fact that Jacobs has long been a notoriously hard lining hawk in talks with the NHL players union, while Tanenbaum has been a conciliatory moderate. NFL rules prevent an owner of a pro sports franchise in one NFL city from owning an NFL team in another, which is why Jacobs' three Buffalo area raised sons probably led by the youngest, Charlie, who is Jeremy's alternate governor on the Bruins would have to be the Bills' part owners on paper. just 11 km (7 miles) east of Ralph Wilson Stadium. A stadium that much closer to Toronto and the 8.6 million residents in the entire "Golden Horseshoe" metropolis that wraps the west end of Lake Ontario is sure to draw more of those residents to watch the Bills. side of the Peace Bridge of having to drive yet another half hour to get to the Ralph. Niagara Falls is about 20 minutes closer to Toronto than just the Peace Bridge.

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