Jon Bon Jovi might not be buying the Buffalo Bills after all.
The rocker had been working with a Toronto-based group of potential investors to bid on the NFL team, but sources close to the process say the group is short on cash.
Bon Jovi was one of three bidders in the first round of bidding for the team, along with Donald Trump and Buffalo Sabres owner Terry Pegula. Sources say the Jon Bon Jovi group bid somewhere under $1 billion, while Pegula dominated the process with an initial bid of $1.3 billion.
The trust running the team’s sale has reportedly given Jon Bon Jovi a chance to re-submit a higher bid, but there may be resistance. Sources say that Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft — both friends of Bon Jovi and supporters of his bid to buy the team — have quietly suggested that Bon Jovi walk away from the process and not risk damaging his reputation.
But the damage may already be done. Bon Jovi is seen as a villain in Buffalo, as reports have indicated that he and the ownership group would move he team north of the border to Toronto.
The trust is also reportedly concerned about Bon Jovi’s intentions to move the team. The trust is forbidden to sell — or even accept a bid from — anyone with intentions to move the team out of Buffalo, as the team has an ironclad 10-year lease with Erie County.
In an effort to allay those fears and gain some public support, Bon Jovi penned and open letter last weekend vowing to keep the team in Buffalo.
“My family and I are prepared to make this life-changing commitment to be part of the Bills,” Bon Jovi wrote. “This is not a hobby or an acquisition. Building a winner on and off the field will be job one and I intend to spend as much time on the ground in Buffalo as needed to accomplish that goal.”
But many Bills fans saw the letter only as an empty promise, noting that Bon Jovi never actually promised he would keep the team in Buffalo. The sentiment extends nationwide — a poll by Pro Football Talk found that 80 percent of respondents believe Bon Jovi would still move the team, despite his assurances.
It’s not known whether Jon Bon Jovi and his group will re-submit their bid to buy the Buffalo Bills, but insiders say it might not matter. Terry Pegula just closed on the sale of $1.75 billion of oil land, making his net worth somewhere north of $5 billion. It is believed he can beat any other offer that Trump or Bon Jovi can make, and is determined to do so.