Per a report from WGRZ sports director Ed Kilgore, there are "two or three" local groups with enough money and knowledge to make a serious bid for the Buffalo Bills when the time should arise. That's not all, either, as Kilgore also says the groups would be interested in funding a new stadium in the area.
"There are at least two or three groups who not only have the financial portfolio to buy the Bills, but who want to keep the team in Buffalo for many years to come," says Kilgore in a blog entry on the WGRZ website.
Jim Kelly has long said the Bills will stay in Buffalo, and Kilgore notes that team owner Ralph Wilson, Jr. would like nothing more than for his Hall of Fame quarterback to be part of the team's next ownership group."Wilson, I'm told, would love to have Bills Hall of Famer Jim Kelly be a part of any group that buys the Bills, because that would automatically mean the team would remain in Buffalo," says Kilgore. "Although Kelly makes no secret about his desire to become involved when the time comes, he's quite respectful of Ralph's refusal to talk about the future.
"Quietly, and this isn't coming directly from Kelly, a vetting process has been underway for several months or more, and there are multiple groups anxious to make their best pitch at the Bills when they get that chance. Supposedly commissioner Roger Goodell is aware of this movement but will never openly acknowledge any of it, for obvious reasons."
Wilson has publicly stated he will not sell the team during his lifetime, instead letting his family sell the business when he passes away. The 92-year-old is the only owner the team has ever had.
The most recent news on the Bills ownership front was just one week ago, when ex-Eagles President Joe Banner announced he was putting an investor group together in hopes of buying an NFL franchise. Without expressly mentioning Banner's group, Kilgore remarks on other potential ownership groups.
"I'm told some of the groups who've made it known they're interested don't have a clue as to how to go about buying an NFL team and are way out of their league even though they have substantial financial backing," Kilgore writes.
Also in the mix with a new ownership group would be a new stadium, says Kilgore. With the team seeking upwards of $200 million for upgrades at the team's facilities with a new lease, the new stadium would be a few years away, but it's interesting to note that Kilgore's information says the new owners would finance the stadium privately.
"These would-be owners feel the future of the Bills is almost entirely dependant on the eventual construction of a new stadium either in downtown Buffalo or more towards Niagara Falls and Canada," writes Kilgore. "Not only that, these people would be willing to finance most of the cost of a new stadium privately. I'll believe that when I see it, because I'm skeptical, too, but people I respect insist this is true."
Despite talk from Banner's group and whispers in the wind about moving to Los Angeles, it should provide some comfort to Bills fans that there isn't just one local group with the financial backing to buy the team. Until the day comes when a new owner is named, however, Bills fans will be anxiously anticipating the long-term future of the team.