The Buffalo Bills are officially for sale, and fans worried that a new owner might pick up the team and move out of Western New York have a bit of relief.
Reports from the NFL owners meeting indicate that a new owner intent on moving the team away from Buffalo would not have enough support to do so. A two-thirds majority of owners need to approve a team relocation, and several sources have indicated that there are at least nine owners who would veto the move, squashing any chance of the team leaving.
Some of those owners and team executives spoke out in support of the place the Buffalo Bills hold in the league.
"We're obviously hoping for the best possible ownership, and most of us are hoping for a situation that allows them to remain in Buffalo," New York Giants President and CEO John Mara said at the meeting in Atlanta.
Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan has also spoken up for the Buffalo Bills.
"I know Buffalo from all the forging mills and all the stamping presses that were produced there," said Khan, who became a billionaire in auto-parts manufacturing. "There's great history there. It definitely has a place in the NFL's history and a place in its future."
So far, the only potential owner who expressed an interest in moving the Buffalo Bills is musician Bon Jovi, who is working with an ownership group interested in moving the team to Toronto. Others who have reportedly been interested in buying the team are Jim Kelly, Donald Trump, and Jeremy Jacobs, a Buffalo native and billionaire who already owns the Boston Bruins.
Jacobs would be barred from owning the Bills himself due to regulations banning any one person from owning professional sports teams outside of the same market. He has also stated that he would not be interested in selling the Bruins, but many believe one of his sons could step forward with a bid on the Bills.
As owners give their support of the Buffalo Bills and potential buyers line up, the team's sale has moved forward. After longtime owner Ralph Wilson died, the sale process started almost immediately, and this week the team put in place financial and legal advisers.
That signals a major step for the Buffalo Bills sale, and the team is expected to contact potential buyers within the next month.