NFL Rumors: Clippers Sale Affecting Value of Bills, Potential Move To Los Angeles

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Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

When former Microsoft CEO. Steve Ballmer agreed to purchase the Los Angeles Clippers for $2 billion, who would have thought it would have a major impact on the sale of the Buffalo Bills?

Initially, Eric County Executive Mike Poloncarz valued the Bills franchise at $800 million to one billion dollars, he told WBEN in Buffalo. But the Bills are among the handful of teams linked to being moved to Los Angeles, which could escalate the price tag to $2 million or even higher.

“We were expecting the Bills would sell somewhere in the vicinity of $800 million to potentially a billion dollars. Maybe it will go higher now,” Poloncarz told WBEN on Friday, via Rodak. “I don’t think it will go for $2 billion because this is not the Los Angeles media market, but it certainly could go above a billion dollars if this precedent in regards to recent NBA sales is any indication. We’ll just have to keep an eye on it.”

Whoever purchases the Bills will have to wait at least six years before moving the team out of Upstate New York. The team is still under contract to play at Ralph Wilson Stadium, but once that lease expires, the next owner is theoretically allowed to move the team. Of course, that would include a relocation fee.

The sale of the Bills is going through a four-person trust that includes Ralph Wilson’s widow, Mary. Per reports, Mary Wilson is believed to be willing to accept the highest bid or a bidder that wants to keep the team in Buffalo.

“I’ve spoken to (Bills CEO Russ) Brandon, I’ve spoken to (Bills CFO Jeffrey Littmann). They know my request, which is to pick the owner that’s going to keep the team in Buffalo. But I don’t know if that’s going to be the decision that the trustees will end up doing,” Poloncarz told WBEN. “If they end up getting a bid that’s so much higher than anybody else, I don’t know if they can turn it down. They may have the fiduciary duty to accept it.”

If the Clippers were worth $2 million, an NFL franchise should garner similar considerations. And that potential of moving the team to Los Angeles certainly makes it an even more promising investment.

Last week, the Buffalo News reported that Los Angeles officials were not confident that the Bills or any other NFL team were coming their way anytime soon. City officials cited the economic climate that forced the Rams and Raiders out of Los Angeles had still not been fixed.

However, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has openly expressed a desire to add two teams — not through expansion — to Los Angeles, the second-largest media market in the United States. The move would include a newly built stadium that would be shared between the AFC and NFC teams.

The Bills, Jacksonville Jaguars, and Oakland Raiders have all been rumored to be moved to Los Angeles in recent years.

Sam Spiegelman is a native New Yorker covering sports in New Orleans. He likes Game of Thrones way too much. Tweet him @samspiegs.