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Sabres owner Golisano keeping tabs on future of Bills

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Amid fears the Buffalo Bills could relocate to Toronto, billionaire Tom Golisano has had numerous discussions about purchasing the franchise and keeping it in the community.

"I've talked to all kinds of people, and I'm not going to say anything beyond that," the Buffalo Sabres owner said Saturday in reiterating his interest in the Bills should the team be put up for sale.

Golisano, who lives in Rochester, declined to say who has approached him or when those discussions occurred.

Golisano was careful to note that Bills owner Ralph Wilson has maintained he has no intention of selling the franchise. The concern is what happens after Wilson dies because the 89-year-old has no plans to keep the team within his family.

"I realize what the issue is. I think I realize how important that organization is to the Buffalo area," Golisano told The Associated Press. "And I'll say the same thing I've said before: If the situation arises, I would do what I can to try to keep the team in the area."

Golisano's comments were similar to ones he made two years ago when Wilson expressed concerns about the small-market team's long-term viability in Buffalo.

Those fears have arisen once again after the Bills, starting this year, will play annual regular-season games in Toronto through 2012. The Bills have insisted the games are necessary to expand their market and generate additional revenue to help secure their future in Buffalo.

"I've kept half an eye on it," Golisano said, referring to the team's international plans. "And I don't think my interest level has increased or decreased."

Besides Golisano, Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly has said he has an undisclosed backer, who's ready to buy the franchise and keep it in Buffalo.

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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