Jon Bon Jovi is leading a group that will bid on the Buffalo Bills, but initial reports that the group of Toronto-area investors wants to move the team north of the border may no longer be true.
Bon Jovi emerged as one of the earliest candidates to purchase the team. Even before the death of owner Ralph Wilson, there were reports that Bon Jovi was putting together an ownership group that included Larry Tanenbaum as the principal financial backer.
Reports this week said that Bon Jovi and his group have retained a banking firm and submitted the initial paperwork to bid on the team.
Though the group initially appeared likely to move the team to Toronto if they had the winning bid, that may have changed. Former NFL quarterback turned ESPN analyst Ron Jaworski said that Bon Jovi was no longer looking to move, and wanted to keep the Bills in Buffalo.
Bon Jovi may have a difficult time moving the Buffalo Bills, even if he wanted to. Any franchise relocation requires the approval of two-thirds of the league’s owners, and sources indicate that there are not enough votes for approval.
At an owner’s meeting earlier this spring, several owners spoke out in support of keeping the team in Buffalo.
“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 also supported the 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.”
Bon Jovi does have some support himself. He is a longtime friend of New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, and is also close to Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.
“You talk about individuals and talk about their qualification — there hasn’t been anybody more qualified to be involved in sports ownership, or certainly ownership in the NFL, than Jon Bon Jovi,” Jones told reporters at the NFL’s spring owners meetings in Atlanta.
It is not certain that Jon Bon Jovi could make the winning bid anyway. Several others have expressed interest in buying the Buffalo Bills, including current Sabres owner Terry Pegula, who recently made more than $1.5 billion from the sale of oil fields, and has expressed commitment to doing whatever it takes to submit the winning bid.