Jon Bon Jovi recently wrote an open letter to the city of Buffalo, promising them that he was ‘committed to seeing the Bills succeed in Buffalo’. One can imagine him setting his pen down a satisfied sigh and smiling at his work, envisioning the city’s residents turning a full 180 degrees and opening their arms, swaying with lighters in hand while Bon Jovi arrives in town wearing a Jim Kelly jersey.
Unfortunately for Bon Jovi, Buffalo fans are astute readers and have quickly made their feelings clear on the issue. Their feelings? Thanks for the letter Bon Jovi, but still no thanks on the whole ‘owning our football team’ thing.
The Buffalo Fan Alliance was formed by influential fans, newscasters and politicians in the area as a way to solidify and consolidate support for keeping the Bills in Western New York. The group formed after the death of Ralph Wilson Stadium and have remained vocal throughout the bidding process, perpetually wary of Bon Jovi and his Toronto-based allies who were reportedly interested in moving the Bills to Toronto at their first opportunity.
The Fan Alliance released a statement in response to Bon Jovi’s letter, and it revealed just how entrenched Buffalo is against Bon Jovi and anyone or anything involved with his ownership group.
In the interest of all Bills fans, we appreciate Bon Jovi’s recent public statement and would like to believe that his group is committed to seeing the team remain in Buffalo for generations to come.
Given the makeup of his group and some of the recent information that has come to light regarding their site selection process for a new stadium, however, we remain highly skeptical of the Bon Jovi group’s intentions. While we appreciate his sentiment, it’s worth noting that nowhere in his letter does he write or directly state or legally commit his group to ‘not moving the Bills from Buffalo.’
Wariness aside, the BFA was willing to lay down some stipulations that might sway them in favor of Jovi and his team.
If [the Toronto group is] sincere in their commitment to Buffalo, we would ask them to enter into a binding pre-purchase agreement with the state and county whereby they would agree to proactively waive the one-year buyout clause in the seventh year of the current lease if they were to successfully purchase the team. If they are truly committed to Buffalo, such an escape clause would not be necessary for them anyway and this would be a simple and demonstrable first step of their sincerity for keeping the team in Western New York.
We’re still not sure what Bon Jovi was planning to accomplish with his letter, but it’s clear that the whole effort has backfired. The cat was out of the bag the moment a report was released that his group had been scoping out sights in Toronto and the ultra-sensitive, diehard fans of the Bills are absolutely not having it with this group taking ownership.
Bon Jovi’s group appears closer than ever to giving up on their dream of owning the Bills, but this might be the final nail in the coffin. If the city wholeheartedly rejects every attempt by Bon Jovi to own the team, then there’s little left for them to do but wait to see if Ralph Wilson’s family accepts their inferior offer anyways or if they choose the reportedly higher figure of Buffalo Sabres owner Terry Pegula. For now, it appears that Jovi and the crew are at the mercy of the City of Buffalo.
Tags: Buffalo Bills