Buffalo Bills controlled by trust following Ralph Wilson's passing

Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Spor

The Buffalo Bills will eventually be sold following Mr. Wilson's passing, but for the foreseeable future, the team's management structure will stay intact.

Ownership of the Buffalo Bills will pass into a trust following the death of Hall of Fame owner Ralph Wilson, reports Mark Gaughan of The Buffalo News.

Per Gaughan's sources, the trust can remain in control of the Bills franchise for "at least a couple of years," or perhaps longer if necessary. Jeff Littman, a long-time confidante of Wilson's and the Bills' treasurer, is one of the executors of Wilson's estate, and part of the trust in control of the team. The franchise's current management structure, including president Russ Brandon and the team's business and football branches, will remain intact for the foreseeable future.

Ultimately, however, Wilson's estate is expected to put the team up for sale at some point. Gaughan reports that this has been Wilson's plan for years - for his family to sell the team upon his passing.

The Bills are not at all likely to leave Western New York any time soon; the team and Erie County agreed to a new 10-year stadium lease at the close of the 2012 season with a $400 million relocation fee for any new owner intent on moving the franchise. There is a one-time, $28 million buyout in the seventh year of the deal, which occurs between the 2019 and 2020 seasons, that could come into play if new ownership wants to move the club.

As part of the aforementioned lease agreement, Ralph Wilson Stadium is currently under renovation, with modern amenities being added to one of the NFL's oldest facilities. A new stadium committee is also being assembled, with representatives from the Bills, Erie County and New York State serving.

Much more will be written about the future ownership of the Bills and their viability in Western New York in the coming weeks, months and years. For now, we encourage you to continue to remember the man that was responsible for giving us the first 54 years of Buffalo Bills football. That is what is important today.

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