Publicist: Bon Jovi not interested in Bills
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 CBSSports.com 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.