BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) - 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 told The Associated Press on Monday.
Sunshine spoke by phone a day after CBSSports.com posted a story citing unidentified sources that Bon Jovi is among the parties positioning themselves to purchase the Bills after Wilson’s death. Wilson, who turned 95 last month, has maintained he has no interest in selling the franchise during his lifetime.
His interest in football went so far as to lead a group to establish an Arena Football team in Philadelphia in 2004. 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 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.
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.
In response to the report regarding Bon Jovi, the Bills released a statement on Sunday, saying: “The organization does not respond to reports of the interest other parties may have in ownership or of speculation concerning various groups that may have such interest.”
Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz also issued a statement Sunday saying he’s had no discussions with Bon Jovi.
Sunshine disputed another portion of the CBSSports.com report, which cited unidentified music industry sources as saying Bon Jovi’s pursuit of an NFL team was likely connected to the dismissal of the band’s longtime lead guitarist, Richie Sambora, in April.