Buffalo Bills owner and American Football League co-founder Ralph Wilson passed away yesterday. Along with mourning his death, football fans, coaches, and players are now wondering, what’s next for the Bills?
Wilson was the sole owner of the team, and upon passing, leaves behind a huge estate, including a football team that is worth around $870 million. Since Wilson had been tight-lipped about what his intentions were for the franchise, the public is not sure if the team will be passed on to Wilson’s family, sold, or something between the two.
Russ Brandon, an executive who has been serving as the Bills’ owner since Wilson had been too sick to carry out the duties, will likely play a major role in facilitating what will happen to the NFL team.
Word is that local groups are interested in the team, as well as billionaires and entities such as Rogers Communications and Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment in Canada.
This could mean the Bills will no longer reside in Western New York, if the new owners decide to relocate the team.
It seems as though no one will know anything for sure, however, until the matter of estate taxes is resolved. If Wilson did nothing to reduce the amount of estate taxes he would owe after his death, his family could be left paying hundreds of millions of dollars to the state and federal government. If he left the team to his wife, however, his estate would pay nothing due to a marital exemption that protects the estate until his wife’s passing.
Until the beneficiaries are named, along with Wilson's intentions for the team, the future of the Bills remains in the air.
Image via Buffalo Bills, Twitter