During the telecast of Sunday night’s Hall of Fame game between the New York Giants and Buffalo Bills, NBC play-by-play man Al Michaels passed along a conversation he had with Donald Trump in which Trump claimed he bid $1 billion cash for the Bills.
“He said he offered $1 billion,” Michaels said. “All cash, no contingencies, immediate closing. He’d have the check in one hour. He was a little miffed that it went out for bid again.”
The offer would be less than the amount reportedly bid by Buffalo Sabres owner Terry Pegula, whose bid was in excess of $1 billion, according to the New York Post.
The Bills are up for sale following the death this spring of the franchise’s founder and only owner, Ralph Wilson.
Rocker Jon Bon Jovi is also interested in buying the Bills and said in a letter to the Buffalo News Sunday he is committed to keeping the franchise in the Buffalo area.
Many fans are concerned that Bon Jovi’s group of investors, heavily laden with Toronto-based interests, wants to move the team to Canada’s largest city, where the team played one regular-season home game each season from 2008-13.
However, the series has been postponed for a year in 2014.
It appears the process of selling the Bills is just starting; with multiple bidders involved, those groups can be leveraged against each other to drive up the sale price.
The highest price ever paid for an NFL team was the $1.1 billion paid for the Miami Dolphins in 2008.
Trump told Fox News on Tuesday that he didn’t think his bid would be successful.
“I would say the chances are very, very unlikely because I’m not going to do something totally stupid,” Trump said. “Maybe just a little bit stupid, but not totally stupid.”
Trump was part of the antitrust lawsuit filed against the NFL in the 1980s by the now-defunct United States Football League. Trump owned the USFL’s New Jersey Generals and was not shy about his desire to force a merger with the established NFL.
The USFL won its case but was awarded just $1—which under antitrust law was trebled to $3.76, including interest.
There are only five current NFL owners who were in the league at that time. Any bidder would be subject to needing 24 of the 32 owners to approve the purchase.