Another bidder has confirmed interest in buying the Buffalo Bills. Another bidder has also said he won't pay too much for the franchise even as he tries to keep it in Western New York.
Billionaire Ton Golisano confirmed his bid to the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle during an appearance in Rochester earlier this week. Much like he did when he bought the Buffalo Sabres earlier this century, Golisano could prove to be a savior to a fan base facing the loss of a team.
But only if the price is right.
"If it costs way more than I'm willing to pay, then I won't feel bad if I don't get them," he said. "I'll only feel bad if they move out of Western New York. If they get moved out of Western New York, I'm not going to feel very good about it. I might even feel partially responsible. Not totally, but partially responsible."
Real estate mogul Donald Trump confirmed last month his intent to bid on the team. Like Golisano, he said he won't be forced into a bidding war. The Bills are valued at about $870 million by Forbes. But a group like Maple Leaf Sports out of Toronto with deep pockets could drive the price upward.
Whoever gets the team will also have to contend with the stadium issue. Ralph Wilson Stadium is undergoing $130 million in renovations that will be ready by September. But NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and many other players in the process say a new stadium is needed for the Bills to remain in Buffalo.
Golisano questioned this work – which was part of the 10-year lease the Bills signed with host Erie County in 2013 – and said fans should expect to do without snow games should a new stadium be built:
"It doesn't sound like they did a lot of planning. Why go through all that renovation and $130 million when you're going to build a new stadium anyway? … My guess, and it's strictly a guess, is the stadium will be covered. I don't know if it'll have a sliding roof or just a permanent roof, but my guess is it will be covered."
Golisano made much of his fortune in Rochester as founder of the payroll processing firm Paychex. He now lives in Florida and is engaged to former tennis star Monica Seles.
The Bills are expected to open the bidding process within a couple weeks.Tags: Buffalo, Buffalo Bills, Donald Trump, Football, NFL