Donald Trump Will Try to Buy NFL’s Bills, Buffalo News ReportsMason Levinson
Donald Trump said he’ll try to buy the Buffalo Bills and would keep the National Football League franchise in western New York if he succeeds, the Buffalo News reported.
“I would love to do it, and if I can do it I’m keeping it in Buffalo,” Trump told the newspaper in a phone interview.
Mary Wilson took control of the team following the March 25 death of Bills owner Ralph C. Wilson Jr. The franchise said April 4 that a process for its sale will be established “at an appropriate time.”
Trump owned the New Jersey Generals before the United States Football League folded following a court battle with the NFL. While he said no bad blood exists between him and the NFL, the 67-year-old’s casino investments may hinder his plan, because the NFL doesn’t allow anyone involved in gambling to own a team. Trump told the newspaper that his small stake in two Atlantic City, New Jersey, casinos wouldn’t impede a purchase.
A Toronto-based group that includes musician Jon Bon Jovi also is expected to make a bid for the Bills, the Toronto Sun reported on April 10. Bon Jovi’s publicist, Ken Sunshine, said that his client is interested in NFL ownership, though he declined to comment on reports linking Bon Jovi to the Bills, according to the Sun.
Wilson bought the Bills for $25,000 in 1959. The franchise is now worth $870 million, according to Forbes magazine.
As part of a $130 million renovation of Ralph Wilson Stadium, the Bills in December 2012 agreed with state and local officials to remain at the venue for 10 years. They’d have to pay a $400 million exit fee if they break the lease, with an exception in the seventh year, when it drops to a $29 million penalty, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said at that time.