The Associated Press reported Friday afternoon that talks between the Buffalo Bills and Erie County pertaining to Ralph Wilson Stadium are progressing. The two sides are working diligently to come to an agreement on a lease extension and a hard financial number for renovations by the time training camp begins on July 26.
Erie County executive Mark Poloncarz confirmed to the AP that the renovations to the stadium are expected to require between $200 million and $220 million in funding - and that the county has asked that both the Bills and the NFL contribute funds to the cause. The renovations, designed to improve the facility and add revenue-generating enhancements to it, are expected to take three years' worth of off-seasons to complete.
The report points out that the NFL has contributed funds for stadiums in the past, and recently, the Minnesota Vikings and Kansas City Chiefs put forth money for their stadiums.
Poloncarz was also quick to point out that an agreement this summer would not be the end of the road for the two sides. The lease at Ralph Wilson Stadium does not expire until July 2013; the two sides are aiming for training camp this year (though that's not a hard deadline) so that the lawyers involved have close to a year to prepare the full, official agreement.
The interesting part of this negotiation, aside from the nature of the renovations being made to The Ralph, will of course be the length of the new lease. Any agreement would help the Bills stay in Buffalo longer, clearly, but the longer the better.