Pub­li­cist: Bon Jovi not in­ter­ested in Bills

The Washington Times Daily - - Television - BY JOHN WAWROW

BUF­FALO, N.Y. While Jon Bon Jovi is in­ter­ested in be­com­ing an NFL owner one day, he’s not cur­rently pur­su­ing the Buf­falo Bills, the New Jersey rocker’s pub­li­cist said Mon­day.

“The Bills are not for sale, and he has too much re­spect for Mr. Wil­son to en­gage in any dis­cus­sions of buy­ing the team,” Ken Sun­shine said, re­fer­ring to Ralph Wil­son, the team’s Hall of Fame owner.

Say­ing Mr. Bon Jovi has “a day job that’s do­ing very well,” Mr. Sun­shine added: “It’s pre­pos­ter­ous to say he’s had any dis­cus­sions with the Bills and Erie County.”

Mr. Sun­shine spoke by phone a day af­ter CBSS­ posted a story cit­ing uniden­ti­fied sources say­ing that Mr. Bon Jovi is among the par­ties po­si­tion­ing them­selves to pur­chase the Bills af­ter Mr. Wil­son’s death. Mr. Wil­son, who turned 95 last month, has main­tained he has no in­ter­est in sell­ing the fran­chise dur­ing his life­time.

Mr. Sun­shine didn’t deny Mr. Bon Jovi’s in­ter­est in one day be­ing an NFL owner, say­ing his client has made that no se­cret.

Mr. Bon Jovi has de­vel­oped re­la­tion­ships with sev­eral NFL power bro­kers, in­clud­ing New Eng­land Pa­tri­ots owner Robert Kraft and Dal­las Cow­boys owner Jerry Jones.

His in­ter­est in foot­ball went so far as to lead a group to es­tab­lish an Arena Foot­ball team in Philadel­phia in 2004. Mr. Bon Jovi owned the team through 2009, when the AFL folded for one sea­son.

The fu­ture of the Bills is al­ways a hot topic of dis­cus­sion and spec­u­la­tion given Mr. Wil­son’s age and be­cause he has ruled out the pos­si­bil­ity of his fam­ily tak­ing over the team af­ter his death. The Bills will in­stead be sold, though that sale would likely be put off for a few years, with the fran­chise be­ing op­er­ated through a trust.

Mr. Wil­son, who lives in sub­ur­ban Detroit, has al­ready scaled back his con­trol of the team. On Jan. 1, Russ Bran­don was pro­moted to the po­si­tion of team pres­i­dent, giv­ing him full con­trol of the fran­chise’s day-to-day op­er­a­tions.

The team’s short-term fu­ture in Buf­falo was also se­cured in De­cem­ber, when the Bills signed a 10-year lease with the state and Erie County to con­tinue play­ing at Ralph Wil­son Sta­dium.

The $271 mil­lion deal in­cludes a pro­vi­sion that essen­tially locks the Bills in for the next seven sea­sons. The fran­chise would have to pay $400 mil­lion if it de­cides to leave be­fore 2020. The team then has the op­tion of buy­ing out the re­main­ing three years of the lease for $28 mil­lion.

Sev­eral groups have ex­pressed in­ter­est in pur­chas­ing the Bills, in­clud­ing one led by Hall of Fame quar­ter­back Jim Kelly.

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