Report: Jon Bon Jovi, MLSE Planning to buy Bills & Move to Toronto
According to a report courtesy of Cathal Kelly of the Toronto Star, famous rocker Jon Bon Jovi is making plans with the executives at Maple Leafs Sports & Entertainment to purchase the Buffalo Bills when the team hits the market.
Bon Jovi emerged Sunday as the leading contender to buy the NFL’s Buffalo Bills.
But rich as he is, Bon Jovi’s not going to be able to do so alone. He needs friends. He suddenly has a lot of them in Canada.
All of those friends want to help Jon Bon Jovi bring the NFL to Toronto.
The Bills will not be sold until their current owner, 95-year-old Ralph Wilson, dies. The purchase price could reach as high as $1 billion (U.S.). Whoever buys the team will need to build a new NFL-specific stadium, likely doubling the sunk cost.
Bon Jovi has become really chummy with the folks at MLSE, so much so that he was the first name placed on the Air Canada Centre’s Wall of Fame a month ago.
MLSE president and CEO and former AEG executive Tim Leiweke, who is a big name in the North American sporting landscape, is a key figure in the plan to move the Bills to Toronto.
“Jon and I are very good friends,” Leiweke said Sunday. “We talk weekly about his NFL ambitions. And so we’re actively engaged, but I think it’s still a work in progress.”
What’s MLSE’s role in all this?
“We can’t own a team (per NFL rules), but we do have more expertise on how to build (stadiums) than anyone,” Leiweke said. “MLSE can play a role. We’re not the lead here. Our job is to augment whatever group may come together.”
The fact that Bon Jovi is also friends with New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, will aid him in his quest to one day own the Bills. With Leiweke’s connections in the sporting world and MLSE’s financial backing this can very well become a reality.