So Now That Ralph Wilson Has Past Away...

Let the speculation of the NFL and Toronto begin.....

Ralph Wilson Passes Away
Ralph Wilson, founder and owner of the Buffalo Bills and a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, died at the age of 95 the Bills announced Tuesday.

Wilson, a legendary NFL owner, formed the Bills in 1959 and was one of the original American Football League owners.

[url=http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/eye-on-football/24500247/bills-owner-and-founder-ralph-wilson-dead-at-95]http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/eye-on-foo ... dead-at-95[/url]

I am sure Tim lewike and all the other clowns from ml$e are going to make a serious push for the bills now. Except them to make a serious bid for this team in the next couple of months.

Well,now that this has happened, perhaps a local group will purchase the bills and keep them in buffalo and all this speculation can finally end.

...Not to make light of the passing of a true pioneer in sports.

From anything I had read previously my understanding is that the Wilson family (who are not from the Buffalo area - they live in Michigan I believe) - the word was they would sell to the highest bidder.

If that is a group that wants to keep the team in Buffalo - the team stays. If that group wants to move them somewhere - then almost certainly they will move. I just did a check of the Bills fans chat board and there are a few posts already acknowledging the uncertainty of what lies ahead. Some simply saying - 'No, no, no no no!'

This is a double whammy this month for Bills fans because it was just recently announced Jim Kelly - who many had mentioned as being one of the driving forces behind finding an ownership group to keep the team in Buffalo - he has suffered a setback and his cancer has returned. As someone whose Mom was just diagnosed with colon cancer a few weeks ago I can certainly understand what the Kelly family is going through and I send him and his family my best wishes for a full and speedy recovery.

As for the Bills - obviously nothing will happen quickly, the team will very much operate as normal this season - and it will likely be a while before we hear what direction this might go.

Buffalo has been very lucky to have an owner like Ralph Wilson. So loyal to the fans of Buffalo - even though he did not live there and was not from there. He will be sorely missed.

Firstly, sad day in Buffalo with the passing of Ralph Wilson Jr. and Jim Kelly undergoing major surgery after an aggressive return of cancer. Probably the two most identifiable faces of the franchise throughout their history. One, passing peacefully after a long & fulfilling life ... the other in the battle of his life ... far too early.

No matter if you liked or disliked Mr. Wilson or The Bills in general ... He certainly was a true iconic figure for the city of Buffalo. The franchise's one & only owner. Last of the AFL Owners. Major player in merging the AFL & NFL. Many times the lone, outspoken owner who spoke up for the small markets.

Rest In Peace Mr. Wilson & Thank-You For All You've Done For Buffalo.

Secondly, as far as buying the team ... here are the numbers.

Franchise Value = $870M (According to Forbes as of August 2013)(Broken Down As Follows)
Sport = $635M
Market = $113M
Stadium = $91M
Brand = $33M

Value Change
1-Yr Change in Value = 8%
Annualized Change in Value = 23% (That's a pretty great IROR btw!)

Sympathies to the Wilson family.

WRT to any sale of the team:

They can sell to anyone they want. Whoever buys the team has to have approval from the rest of the NFL owners before they can relocate the team. So it’s not as easy as “I’m buying the team and moving them to Toronto”.

Hard day for Bills fans too with Wilson’s passing and the recent announcement of Jim Kelly’s cancer spreading and requiring surgery. Kelly was the head of probably the best chance for a local ownership group to get control of the Bills. Best wishes to Kelly on his treatment and recovery.

Say what you want about Ralph Wilson, one need just remember the Doug Flutie affair and Rob Johnson I think his name was, but in spite of all of that, my condolences go out to his family and loved ones, no question a true pioneer in sports with the Bills, the best $25,000 grand he ever invested in I'm sure and had a heck of a lot of fun with this investment and the team and really helped put the city of Buffalo and WNY on the map and keep pro football alive in that part of the continent.

That's all I'm going to say for now, in the near future we'll see what happens with the team. And yes, all the best to Jim Kelly.

There's a couple tings here. While the Estate obviously want's to sell as high as they can. The NFL has the right to vet any new owners and even more say in relocating a franchise.

The Estate is setup that the franchise can operate without a new owner. This sale could take a year or two before it is concluded.

Relocating a team to Canada would not be as easy as some think, this isn't an expansion franchise like the Blue Jays or Raptors. And the only NFL team that plays it's home games in the state of NY where Roger Goodell is from.

This could get ugly between the Wilson family, the NFL and Toronto group(s) who might be ready to swoop in for the kill asap. Phil Lind is probably salivating right now after a couple of seconds of mourning Ralph's passing.

[b]HfxTC wrote: There's a couple tings here. While the Estate obviously want's to sell as high as they can. The NFL has the right to vet any new owners and even more say in relocating a franchise. [/b]
very true. Much has changed since the gun slinging days of maverick Al Davis.

In late 2012 ...

"The Bills reached an agreement with the state of New York on a 10-year lease deal for Ralph Wilson Stadium. The new lease, first reported by The Buffalo News, was announced at a press conference Friday morning.

The agreement includes a prohibitive relocation penalty. The Bills would have to pay $400 million if they leave during the first seven years of the lease. The penalty drops to $29 million for the remainder of the lease. That will quiet any talks about the franchise leaving until at least 2020."

[url=http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap1000000114443/article/buffalo-bills-agree-to-new-ralph-wilson-stadium-lease]http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap100000 ... dium-lease[/url]

Interestingly that lower escape clause after 2019 was one that Wilson insisted be there because it almost certainly increases the value of that franchise to bidders who are interested in ultimately moving that team allowing them to escape the lease for relative peanuts three years early. If the full $400 million dollar penalty was in place for the entire duration of the lease that would have negatively impacted the proceeds his family will ultimately end up getting from the sale.

And a nice tribute to Wilson by Tim and Sid today and their description of things really is in sync with my thoughts as somebody who like them grew up in Southern Ontario, getting Buffalo TV stations and growing up a Bills fan and watching them every Sunday during the NFL season and going to one or two games every year at 'The Ralph'.

[url=http://www.sportsnet.ca/football/nfl/longtime-bills-owner-wilson-dies-at-95/]http://www.sportsnet.ca/football/nfl/lo ... ies-at-95/[/url]

The Bills are not going anywhere , at least in the short term , they can be run quite nicely in Buffalo by the NFL for as long as it takes, as far as estate taxes on The Bills are concerned the NFL can pay those as well short term till a sale takes place . Lots of scenario's here and lots of politics involved to play out .

I think Ralph's passing, as far as Toronto/MLSE goes , this will only put more pressure on Lieweke to solve the Argo/BMO situation asap in Toronto . If the Bills do end up in TO in the next few years so be it , the argo's will be settled at BMO nicely .

To think outside the box even further .....if the Bills move out of western New York to points unknown it opens up a football market near the Ontario border .......let me throw this out ......could a CFL franchise work in this market ? Something to ponder possibly.

That's a very interesting idea to bring up. Look at what happened with the Stallions in Baltimore. I'm not one for American Expansion, but the idea has merit under the proper conditions. Buffalo is essentially in Ontario's back yard, and the stadium and fan base already exist. If the IP could be transfer over to a CFL team you could see a very successful franchise. All in theory of course.

Yes, to this day the NFL still has political/mortal enemies because of Davis actions.

I can just imagine the arguments you give your clients to close a transaction. You would not fare well with a customer like me LOL ! The reason for the escape clause is that the window is the time Wilson was told it would take to build a new stadium in Buffalo (five years) giving him the time to negotiate if the stadium deal goes south, has nothing to do with raising the value of team.

My quick thought on that Mr Pike would be no. Buffalo will become a university football town if the Bills leave. The UB Bulls as it is already get 20,000 - 25,000 for home games already at UB Stadium - and when I went to the International Bowl that UB played against UConn - a game that attracted over 40,000 to the Rogers Centre a number of people from Buffalo we were chatting with during the game and at Front Street bars pre and post game all said just that.

They don't want to lose the Bills but if they did UB Bulls would become 'their' football team.

God Bless poor Ralph

Correct me if I am wrong, Argos have a new 4 year lease at Rogers center? What about that, yes I understand Dave B wants out, as far as I know he still owns the team.

Is the 4 year contract transferable to new owner? Are there clauses in it that we do not know about?

MLSE dont have our interests at heart, so CFL should arrange to either take over the team, or help David B keep the team whatever

Would be great if the Argos current 4 year deal with Rogers center was binding, and that somehow we could just say no to the folks that would want us out.