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Buffalo Fan Alliance appoints two fans to its advisory board

The Buffalo Fan Alliance, the group aiming to raise a significant amount of money from fans to help keep the Bills in Western New York, has named two fans to its advisory board.

The additions, made in conjunction with the BillsMafia.com website, bring to 20 the number of members of the advisory board. The Fan Alliance has proposed raising between $100 million and $170 million from fans, who could pay anywhere from $100 to $10,000 apiece. That fund then would be offered interest-free to someone buying the team and pledging to keep it here, creating an incentive worth around $10 million per year for a new owner.

The advisory board includes Pro Football Hall-of-Famers Andre Reed, James Lofton, Joe DeLamielleure and Billy Shaw, along with Buffalo developer Rocco Termini.

The two fans named to the board are Celeste Albone, 32, of Albion and Brian Smith, 25, of Lockport. The search for two fans to take at-large spots on the board began with fans making written submissions to be considered. Then 10 fan finalists were chosen. Fan voting produced the two choices. The board will guide the group as it finalizes a fundraising mechanism for fans to help keep the team in Buffalo.

"We’re thrilled to have Celeste and Brian join us on the board, as ‘super-fans,’ which we all need to be these days,” said Matt Sabuda, one of the alliance founders. “The BFA is for fans, is based on fan strengths, traditions and ambitions, and it’s so appropriate that we have two great fans on the board."

“The Bills being in Buffalo means everything to me,” said Albone, an administrative assistant to the general manager of a regional distribution company. “I was born and raised a Bills fan and to think they would be moved elsewhere is complete blasphemy."

Smith is vice president of the Greater Lockport Development Corp.

"My Buffalo Bills fanhood began the same way as so many others," he said. "My father grew up playing football and, being from Buffalo, was a die-hard Bills fan. He bestowed his love for the Bills upon me and for most of my life I was your typical fan."

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