Raji's Hiring Hailed As Step Forward In Bills' Lease Talks

August 13, 2012 Updated Aug 13, 2012 at 7:09 AM EDT

By James Fink, Business First

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Raji's Hiring Hailed As Step Forward In Bills' Lease Talks

August 13, 2012 Updated Aug 13, 2012 at 7:09 AM EDT

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) - The hiring of sports industry expert Irwin Raij to advise New York on the ongoing Buffalo Bills' lease negotiations is being hailed.

Raij, a partner with Foley & Lardner LLP and co-chair of the Sports Industry Team, will advise New York's top economic leaders on the Bills' lease talks. The Bills' lease at Ralph Wilson Stadium expires next July.

The 39-year-old Ralph Wilson Stadium is believed to need at least $220 million in upgrades and renovations. Those renovations and who will pay for them are central issues in the talks.

"You can talk about the economic impact of the Bills, which is very real," Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy said. "But don't discount what they mean to the morale of Buffalo, Western New York and Upstate New York."

Raij's experience includes leading the team that represented Guggenheim Baseball Management in the recent acquisition of the Los Angeles Dodgers, the single largest transaction ever for a professional sports franchise. He also represented Rangers Baseball Express in its acquisition of the Texas Rangers.

In addition, he was appointed by Bud Selig, Major League Baseball's commissioner, to serve on a three-person committee to determine feasibility of developing a new stadium for the Oakland A's in Northern California; represented MLB in the relocation of the Montreal Expos, now the Washington Nationals, to Washington; and acted as MLB's counsel in its successful efforts to facilitate new stadiums for the Miami Marlins and the Washington Nationals.

Raij has also provided counsel to the Miami Dolphins in their efforts to renovate Sun Life Stadium.

"Throughout this process, I plan to leverage my and the firm's collective experience on these complex and evolving issues in order to find a solution that helps keep the Bills in Buffalo," Raij said in a prepared statement.

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