Is Bon Jovi moving the Buffalo Bills to Toronto? That’d give Bon Jovi a bad name, especially to Buffalo fans everywhere.
The NFL has been investigating possible moving and expansion of NFL teams to locations such as Los Angeles and London. According to CBS Sports, one of ten prospective groups, including veteran rocker Jon Bon Jovi, had conducted a survey of three possible locations in the Toronto area for a new stadium. This would all be fine except for the lease the Buffalo Bills have with Buffalo and Ralph Wilson Stadium, named after the late Bills owner, who passed away earlier this year. The Bills and Buffalo have a lease until 2022, but can buy out of the contract in 2019 for $28.4 million.
The man behind the plan for the study, Andy Bergmann, denied conducting feasibility studies. “We have undertaken engineering and design studies,” Bergmann wrote. “All of our work has been about a generic site and whether it was more rural or urban. We are aware of potential sites in the western NY and southern Ontario region, and are in fact meeting with two Buffalo area developers next week. No feasibility studies have been undertaken on any site to date.”
Bergmann represents Bon Jovi, partners Larry Tannenbaum (Chairman of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, which controls the NBA Raptors and NHL Maple Leafs) and the Rogers family (led by Edward Rogers, deputy chairman of Rogers Communications, the Toronto-based communications giant).
As mentioned before, any potential owner with known plans to move the team can’t be involved in negotiations to buy the team. So if Bon Jovi’s group wanted to move the team to Toronto and they made it known, that would eliminate them as potential owners.
Another possible factor for relocation is the definition of relocation itself. If the Bills do indeed move to Toronto, it may not be considered relocation since the NFL considers Toronto a part of Buffalo’s geographic territory. However, if the Toronto group does not buy the Bills, the moving discussion becomes moot.
Bon Jovi is not new to the ownership game. He and former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Ron Jaworski co-owned the Arena Football League’s Philadelphia Soul from 2003 to 2008. Bon Jovi helped to build the Soul franchise into a competitive team in those 5 years.
Ownership bids are expected to be reviewed next week and that number could be trimmed down from 10 in the next one to two weeks.