The only constant in life is change. That quote is a certainty when referring to our Buffalo Bills.
Every year there are changes to the roster, as people are cut and signed, put on IR or signed on from the practice squad, maybe even traded or retired. Ticket prices are increased due to success, cut due to mediocrity, or remain the same for a variety of reasons. Jerseys change for better or worse, and aside from division rivals, who we play varies as well.
These types of change we roll with. We express how we either agree or disagree, or maybe even could care less. It all comes with the territory of being a fan. However, as Bills fans, the change we all fear the most is the one that is absolutely inevitable:
What happens to the Buffalo Bills when Ralph Wilson passes on?
The Roundtable tackles that very question and tries to put your fears at ease after the jump.
We begin the discussion with sireric's take, who takes a direct and honest approach:
Well, the team gets sold, that much is clear because Ralph has said as much. Personally I think that any new owner would be silly to move the team because of a strong, proven fan base, but I guess it depends on who buys the team.
Eric speaks from the heart and Ron from NM is not far behind:
The worst case is that the Bills are moved to California. At that point, the Bills will be dead to me. The best case is that the Bills are moved to Toronto and still retain some theoretical connection to Buffalo.
Picking up on the Toronto connection, I attempt to squash that possibility:
I don't know what will happen when Ralph passes, but I am confident in what won't happen: the Bills will not relocate to Toronto. There is simply not enough support in Toronto for a team that is not their own. The stadium situation (Rogers Centre simply doesn't cut it for NFL football) and the fact that the only true ownership group that could pull it off (Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment) would probably not have enough interest are factors as well. In addition, MLSE has a track record of not investing a penny into stadiums. Could public funding be possible? Sure, but I still think it is highly unlikely, especially with the Jays needing a stadium within 10-15 years, and I'm sure some funding will be allocated for that.
I will cheer for local ownership, as mentioned above, and in a perfect world, a new stadium with a roof that could perhaps lure a Super Bowl to the city, which would be awesome.
Steering the conversation into a more positive one, Der Jaeger weighs in:
I don't take what Wilson said at face value. It's not that he's being deceptive. It's more to do with NYS politics. With state congressmen involved, there's more going on than we, the fans, know. I would be surprised if Buffalo moves, though. I think Jacksonville will move to LA, and Buffalo will stay put. Jeremy Jacobs is the likely buyer, in my opinion, since owning an NFL franchise is more profitable than an NHL team, even if it's in Boston.
The Bruins were worth $271 million in 2009, according to Forbes. They made $108 million in revenue in the sample year, turning a profit, while losing money the previous year. The Bills were worth $871 million in 2007, according to Forbes. Buffalo is making money every year despite low ticket prices.
No-brainer for Jacobs.
Indeed, it does make sense, and Jeff Winters agrees:
Best case scenario is someone like Tom Golisano or Jeremy Jacobs buys the team, keeps them in WNY, and permanently changes the uniforms to the throwbacks. Ironically, a good portion of Bruins fans openly hate Jacobs because he’s seen as cheap, but hey, if he keeps the Bills in Buffalo, he’ll be a hero and get a six-month exemption from being ridiculed on message boards. Worst case scenario is some dude with a popped collar from L.A. triples the asking price for the Bills because the lease is easy to get out of, moves the team while renaming it something silly like the Leopards or Lumberjacks, and I go on a 71-state "killing" spree with a Nerf gun and my extreme video game head-shotting skills (note: that was a joke, so if that ever happens, it wasn’t me!).
Building on the Jacobs momentum, MattRichWarren gives him two thumbs up:
When Ralph passes the team will be sold to the highest bidder. I have no idea what that means, but there's a good chance the Bills are moved after that. When you make an investment that large, you want and need to make your money back eventually. The reality is that would be hard to do in Buffalo. The best case scenario is a local guy like Jeremy Jacobs leads a group and purchases the Bills in order to keep them in Buffalo. He would have to sell his interest in the Boston Bruins, but for a guy who summers in East Aurora, I don't think it's such a stretch. The guy would be a hero if he kept the team here, and they were as competitive as the Bruins are.
Jacobs is on fire on the Roundtable, and Brian makes it four (kind of):
As Matt said, when Mr. Wilson moves on, the Bills will be sold to the highest bidder. That's really about it. Not much more to say about that.
Kurupt adds to the Jacobs bandwagon, and reminds us at the end of the day what it's all about:
I haven't a clue what will happen when Mr. Wilson passes. We know the team is going to the highest bidder. Worst case scenario, the new owner packs up and heads to a bigger market. Best case scenario, Jim Kelly finds enough financing, or Jeremy Jacobs steps in and the Bills remain in Buffalo where they belong. I don't care who owns the team or how they run it; I just want my Bills to remain in Buffalo no matter what. Whatever it takes to do that, I'm down.
And kaisertown brings us home:
What everybody else said about Ralph and the Bills leaving.
It's obvious where the Roundtable feels the Bills are going. So let us know what your theories are, or ask us why we believe what we do.
Think of this as the forum to get all those fears out into the open. Group therapy is open and the doctors are in.