The Bills will go to the market when the 95-year-old owner Ralph Wilson passes, and, many league sources believe the Rogers Communications group in Toronto, who already work closely with the Wilson family to stage games annually in Toronto, is the prime suitor for the franchise.
But CBS Sports says Bon Jovi has reportedly spent considerable time in the Buffalo area getting to know politicians and power brokers and even added a date there late in a recent tour to allow for more time to allocate to the matter.
While Bon Jovi has been very proactive in meeting NFL owners and general managers, and is seeking their input on all sort of issues related to football, he may be living on a prayer. Sources said Bon Jovi is aiming to be the principal owner, but it remains to be seen if he has the type of sizable capital necessary to meet that threshold of majority ownership. He nearly become a minority owner of the Atlanta Falcons a few years ago and still maintains connections with several NFL power brokers in his effort to turn that dream into reality.
According to several sources in the music industry, Bon Jovi's dumping of the band's longtime guitarist Richie Sambora is likely even related to his pursuit of a franchise, as Sambora was the highest-paid member of his band and the next most prominent member, and by using session musicians or unknowns, he is then able to keep his costs down. Bon Jovi is a shrewd businessman who has kept much of his operation in-house and has long been the central figure in making deals for the band.
He is obviously very wealthy and is held in high regard by NFL owners and within the league office, but it is very difficult to end up as the primary owner of a franchise and they do not change hands all that often. The recent passing of Titans owner Bud Adams has put a finer focus on the age and relative health of some owners, and while Adams' family has plans in place to retain the franchise into the foreseeable future, that is not the case with the Bills.
The NFL has a vested interest in keeping the Bills a regional team, for Western New York and Southern Ontario, and in most any scenario the team will continue sharing games to some degree with Toronto.
Whether any group would have the connections and wherewithal to compete with the media conglomerate Rogers Communications (worth billions) remains to be seen, but Bon Jovi's interest and desire should not be underestimated, sources said. The Bills could end up in a special trust for a period of time following Wilson's death, as well, but whether it's within a year of his passing or five years after, the team will be going to sale.