BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Bills president Russ Brandon can appreciate how eight years is not much time to establish a plan to secure the franchise's long-term future in Buffalo.
"That's the reason, we're standing here today," Brandon said Tuesday, after a newly formed stadium search committee met for the first time. "This will be a long process. We have a lot of work that needs to be done. But I know our group is up for the task."
Called the "New Stadium Work Group," it is a committee made up public and private leaders and Bills executives. They will be responsible for making recommendations on whether a new stadium or renovations to the team's current home best fit the franchise's needs to remain viable in Buffalo once the Bills lease expires in 2022.
The group met with a raised sense of urgency in establishing a plan, because the team's future has been left uncertain following the death of Hall of Fame owner Ralph Wilson last week. The franchise is expected to be placed into a trust before being sold within a few years, opening the possibility of the Bills being relocated.
The Bills are essentially locked into playing at Ralph Wilson Stadium through 2019, under terms of a 10-year lease agreement they reached with state and county governments in December 2012. The deal features a $400 million penalty the Bills would have to pay in the event a court ruled in favor of the team breaking the lease and relocating.
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