Like any good negotiation, each side tries to find its leverage. And in the case of the NFL’s Buffalo Bills, they could be using Austin, Texas as leverage for themselves to get a new football stadium.
According to Seth Wickersham of ESPN.com, Austin is a possible destination for one of the cities to which Bills ownership was referring when telling government negotiators that “there are other cities elsewhere that desire an NFL franchise and would pay handsomely for it.” The Bills are looking for a new $1.5 billion stadium in Buffalo, funded by state and county taxpayers.
Using a third city in Texas as leverage is nothing new for NFL franchises. Mostly recently, the Raiders used San Antonio as a threat, before ultimately moving from Oakland to Las Vegas. Also, it was well known that the Dallas Cowboys and Houston Texans were not wild about the idea.
And in the case of Austin, it’s one of the fastest growing metros in the country, and is more than capable of supporting a pro team based on its size, but the Texas Longhorns have long been able to act as the pro team in town and its believed have had some say in preventing any serious moves from happening, at least from one of the major professional sports (MLS is now in Austin with Austin FC).
Is it possible that Texas’ move to the SEC could help thwart a major pro team coming to town? One of the reasons Texas folks gave for their SEC move is an unhappiness with their home schedule in recent years. Could the SEC move have been a way to make sure, no matter what competition comes to town, they have the most attractive product possible? There’s still a long way to go in this story, but if things get more serious, we’ll see how the power brokers as the University of Texas react.