Guessing next Bills owner a waste of time

May, 26, 2011
5/26/11
4:58
PM ET
The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that prominent bond-fund manager Jeffrey Gundlach is trying to field a group to purchase the Buffalo Bills.

"It's not an investment," Grundlach told the Wall Street Journal. "It's because I love the Bills."

The Bills quickly released a statement proclaiming the team is not for sale, but the Wall Street Journal article noted Grundlach's acknowledgment the Bills probably won't be available as long as owner Ralph Wilson is alive. Wilson is 92 years old.

Barron's wrote a feature on Gundlach, a Western New York native, in February. The headline called Grundlach "The King of Bonds" and referred to him in the first sentence as "celebrated" in the industry.

This type of development should be significant to Bills fans not because Gundlach offers any guarantees for keeping the team from moving. Too many problems crop up when trying to pull off such a major transaction. Investors change their minds. Uncontrollable outside variables frequently derail plans.

But what I find notable about this story is that it's another reminder there are a lot of rich folks out there who sports fans have never heard of.

For decades, Western New Yorkers have wrung their hands over what would happen when Wilson passes away. Bills fans have hung their hopes on former Buffalo Sabres owner Tom Golisano, a billionaire from nearby Rochester, and legendary quarterback Jim Kelly, who for years has publicly discussed putting together a group to keep the team in the area but has been vague on details.

Last fall, however, Sabres fans had nary a clue who Terry Pegula is. Turns out, Forbes estimates he's the 128th richest American with a net worth of $3 billion. He also happens to have roots in Western New York, has long been a Sabres fan and bought the team with ease.

Pegula and Grundlach just go to show that trying to figure out the next owner of the Bills is virtually impossible.

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