Austin City Council members unaware of possible transfer of bills
If Austin is a potential destination for the Buffalo Bills, it’s news for the powers that be in Austin.
Ryan Autullo from Austin American-Stateman spoke with several members of Austin City Council. And they said that sunday report of ESPN’s Seth Wickersham as a potential destination for invoices is the first they heard about it.
That would mean that the Bills’ potential move to Austin is, at least for now, a leverage to get public funding in Buffalo.
That doesn’t mean it can’t become something more than that. But, obviously, if team owners Terry and Kim Pegula are to get the attention of politicians in Erie County and New York City, they have to have a Plan B. The fact that Plan B is not yet viable doesn’t doesn’t matter.
It is not a surprise. In any negotiation, leverage is necessary. If the Bills have no alternative to Buffalo, they have no real leverage.
So for now, that seems to be part of the effort to maximize public money for a new stadium in Buffalo. The Pégulas would have proposed that the place will be fully funded by taxpayers’ money. This is certainly not the case; to get (for example) 50 percent of the project paid for by public money, they have to start higher than that. Asking 100 percent is, of course, as high as it gets.
The larger reality is that the cat is now out of the bag. So whether it’s Austin or wherever, any other city that covets an NFL franchise now knows that the Bills could be on the line. These cities have to ask themselves if they’re ready to be a pawn in a game that they can’t. not win, or if they can actually put together a package that can grab the attention of the Pegulas.
It remains to be seen where he goes from here. However, the time has come for people in western New York State to reflect on the possibility of the emergence of a “or whatever” destination. And if another city does what Buffalo, Erie County and / or New York City won’t, tough decisions may need to be made.
It’s unfortunate, but it’s a fundamental fact of NFL business. The Rams, Chargers and Raiders relocations prove that owners will go where the money is, or where a privately funded stadium is more likely to generate consistent profits. And if the money is not in Buffalo, the possibility that the money is elsewhere becomes extremely relevant. So what might start out as a bluff might turn into something more than that.
Is this how it should be? No, but that’s how it is. Until the Pegulas put together an acceptable plan for a new stadium in Buffalo, the possibility that another team can find a way to defeat the Bills will be on the table. Time will tell if it’s Austin or somewhere else. To get the best deal in Buffalo, a place other than Buffalo has to become a viable alternative. Until a new deal is struck in Buffalo, there is a possibility that a location other than Buffalo could become the new home of a team that, ideally, would never move.
Here we are, hoping that does not happen. But it happened in St. Louis, San Diego, Oakland, Cleveland and Baltimore. This could indeed happen in Buffalo. It shouldn’t, but it could. The longer it takes for public funding to be secured in Buffalo, the more likely it is that another American city will decide that its ticket to legitimacy comes from attracting an NFL team to town.