WNY State Legislators Urge NFL to Address Bills’ Concerns

April 21, 2006

The bipartisan Western New York state legislative delegation has joined efforts of other public officials and community leaders in support of the Buffalo Bills, Assemblyman Robin Schimminger said today.

In a letter National Football League Commissioner Paul Tagliabue, signed by Assemblyman Schimminger and the 13 other State Senators and Assembly Members who represent Erie, Niagara and Chautuaqua counties, the state lawmakers called on the NFL to ensure the long-term security of the Buffalo Bills in Western New York.

Schimminger, who co-chairs the area delegation with Senator Dale M. Volker, said that he and his colleagues felt it was “important to let the NFL commissioner and owners know that the New York State Legislature is concerned over the league’s impending new revenue structure. We are urging the league to take appropriate actions to ensure an enduring financial viability for the small-market teams in the NFL, like the Bills.”

“Since 1960, when Ralph Wilson brought professional football back to our region, the Bills have been synonymous with Buffalo and Western New York,” said Schimminger. “They are an important marketing tool for branding the region and winning new investment and jobs for the area, which is why New York State and Erie County have invested millions in improving the Bills’ stadium, such as new luxury suites, club seating, more restrooms and the new field house.”

“Mr. Wilson has made it clear over the past few weeks that without a new revenue sharing agreement that takes into account the difficulties small-market teams, such as Green Bay, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh and Jacksonville, would have, not just in competing on the field with teams in larger markets, but in remaining economically viable, the Bills’ long-term future in Western New York is uncertain. That’s why we are asking Commissioner Tagliabue to explore ways in which small-market teams can enhance their position within the league’s revenue structure. It’s the right thing for the NFL, and the right thing for its fans,” said Schimminger.