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Thursday, January 15, 2004

Bills Staying in Buffalo?: The Buffalo News has an article that discusses the future of the Bills, whose 15-year lease at Ralph Wilson Stadium allows the team to leave before next season. However, the team has a number of other contractual obligations to sponsors, many of them local, that would be violated by a move.

This situation highlights the difficulty of small-market teams in an increasingly financial sports world. Outside of those few teams with incredible history and tradition (i.e., Green Bay Packers), the next era of professional sports could unfortunately bring an end, or at least a relocation, for a number of small-market teams. In Pittsburgh, the Penguins are struggling and the Pirates have not reaped the benefits they hoped a new ballpark would bring. The Royals in Kansas City seem to face financial difficulties on a yearly basis and the Twins in Minneapolis have been earmarked for contraction or movement on a number of occasions. It remains to be seen whether professional leagues can reach revenue-capping and -sharing agreements that are legal, ensure competitiveness, and allow these small-market teams to survive.


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