Bills lease agreement approved by NFL owners

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After a memorandum of understanding was agreed upon between the Buffalo Bills, Erie County and New York State on a new 10-year lease agreement last December, it was hoped that come mid-March at the NFL owners meetings in Phoenix that the pact would gain league approval. Late Monday evening NFL owners gave the terms and conditions for the Bills new lease and renovation package the green light.

"On behalf of Ralph Wilson and the entire Bills organization, we are pleased to announce that NFL ownership today approved the financial terms and conditions of our new lease for, and the renovation of Ralph Wilson Stadium," said President and CEO Russ Brandon in a team statement. "This is another important step in the process toward finalizing the related definitive agreements and remaining on schedule to begin the improvements this year.  We anticipate the final approval by the Erie County Legislature and the New York State Legislature in the next couple weeks."

League approval is one of the final hurdles in putting the agreement into action with plans to begin renovations later this year.

Brandon was working as recently as late February in meetings with the league's Joint Finance and Stadium Committees to ensure that the Bills lease agreement would appear on the agenda at this week's NFL owners meetings.

The M.O.U. signed by the Bills, the state and the county late last year contains a $130 million package for renovating Ralph Wilson Stadium. The Bills will pay $35 million, the state $54 million and the county $41 million over the life of the agreement.

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