Discusses With NFL Lease Expert Marc Ganis the Misconceptions Regarding Non-Relocation Agreement and Faulty Reports a Buyout Option Exists
ERIE COUNTY, NY— Yesterday, John Kryk of the Toronto Sun put any speculation to rest regarding the ability of the Buffalo Bills to relocate in the near future after the passing of owner Ralph C. Wilson. Kryk discusses with prominent sports-franchise consultant Marc Ganis (president of Sports Corp. Ltd.) the binding Non-Relocation Agreement entered into by the Buffalo Bills, Erie County and New York State, which agreement is related to but a separate agreement from the 10-year Stadium Lease signed in 2013.
Kryk correctly reports that previous reports regarding a $400 million relocation buyout option exists are erroneous. Under the Non-Relocation Agreement, if the owner of the Buffalo Bills attempted to move the team during the 10-year period, Erie County and New York State may enforce the non-relocation terms in a court of law (based in Erie County) through the doctrine of “specific performance.” In the highly unlikely event a court allowed such move, then the team would be required to pay a $400 million penalty to the county and state. Only during one short window during the seventh year of the agreement does the team have an option to pay $28.3 million as a “buyout” penalty, said window being in direct relation to a new collective bargaining agreement with the NFL and NFL Players’ Association.
Kryk further reported how unlikely Ganis believed it would be for a new owner to win such a lawsuit. According to Ganis, “they [a new owner] cannot win the threshold issue (in court). We have something in the U.S. that we call a specific performance clause. Teams cannot terminate under a specific performance clause — cannot.”
Ganis goes on to tell Kryk, “At least for the first seven years there is no opportunity — no chance — that the Bills will leave Buffalo. Period, end of story. So any speculation to the alternative is flat-out wrong.”