ORCHARD PARK, NY (WKBW) - U.S. Senator Charles Schumer (D-New York) said he has found a way to add a layer of protection for football fans and taxpayers to keep the Buffalo Bills in Buffalo.
Schumer unveiled his plan Wednesday before reporters in Parking Lot C of Ralph Wilson Stadium.
He believes a loan program offered by the National Football League for new stadiums and improvements of older facilities is the key to making it more difficult for a future owner to move the team out of town.
"This could be a match made in Heaven for the Bills and Western New York because it offers additional outside support from the NFL for renovations," Schumer said.
The team could borrow money for stadium improvements with a minimum investment of $25 million. The league would match the team's investment dollar-for-dollar. Visiting team revenues would be used to pay back the loan over 15-20 years, said Schumer.
One condition of the loan would be a future owner would have to pay a "relocation penalty" if the team was moved out of Western New York, said Schumer.
"What it means is that if the loan program is amended and the Bills take advantage of this program, there'd be a huge financial penalty to moving the team out of Buffalo before the loan is repaid," he said.
The Buffalo Bills issued the following statement from team CEO Russ Brandon:
"I spoke to Mr. Wilson this afternoon about Sen. Schumer's recommendations, and clearly the proposed amendment would be very helpful for our franchise. Obviously, Sen. Schumer has made productive recommendations in the past and has certainly been an advocate for small-market franchises like ourselves."