BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) – The Buffalo Bills newly formed stadium search group added a new member on Monday, and has already scheduled its first meeting.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo appointed Time Warner executive Gary Ginsberg to what’s being called the Bills’ “New Stadium Work Group.” Ginsberg is the company’s executive vice president of global marketing and grew up in suburban Buffalo. He previously served as an assistant legal counsel to President Bill Clinton.
The appointment comes at the same time two people familiar with the group’s timetable told The Associated Press that it will hold its first meeting in Buffalo on Tuesday. The people spoke on the condition of anonymity because the meeting has not been announced.
The meeting will take place with the future of the Bills uncertain after the team’s founder and sole owner Ralph Wilson died last week. The Bills are to be operated out of a trust before being sold, opening the possibility of the franchise being relocated.
FEEDBACK FROM LEADERS:
“We’ve been able to work closely with the NFL and Commissioner Goodell, and that’s going to be a real asset. He’s from Western New York, from Jamestown, and he wants to keep the Bills in Buffalo.” Senator Chuck Schumer said, “We’ll do whatever it takes to keep the Bills in Buffalo. They are part of the soul of the city.”
Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said, “We’re putting in place the mechanism that will be necessary to show a new owner that we’re committed to keeping this team in town.”
The stadium group now has 20 of a possible 21 members made up of private and public leaders, including Sen. Charles Schumer and Bills executives. It was established as a requirement of the 10-year lease the team negotiated with the state and county in December 2012.
The $271 million lease included the commitment of $130 million in public and private funds for upgrades at Ralph Wilson Stadium, which opened in 1973. The deal also set aside money to fund a potential new stadium or future renovations at the team’s current home.
The group’s role is to explore the possibility of determining whether to construct a new stadium in the Buffalo area or renovate the team’s current home to help secure the franchise’s long-term future in the region.