Sunday, February 6, 2011
Updated: February 7, 7:20 PM ET
Sources: Jon Bon Jovi in Falcons talks
By Chris Mortensen
New Jersey rock star Jon Bon Jovi has been in confidential negotiations with Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank in which Bon Jovi would purchase 15 percent of the NFL franchise for $150 million, according to league sources.
Blank on Sunday morning acknowledged the talks but downplayed them as "discussions that are unlikely" to produce a partnership with Bon Jovi. He would not elaborate, except to add that he did not think it was newsworthy at this stage.
Bon Jovi released a statement on Monday where he also admitted discussions had taken place but that there is nothing immediately on the horizon.
"Some months ago, I was approached by the Atlanta Falcons and there have been discussions regarding my ownership interest," the statement said. "At this time, there are no further negotiations with the Falcons."
Blank is among a select group of owners who have been seeking more minority partners to gain an infusion of cash that in Blank's case will also help him realize his plans to build a new outdoor stadium in the Atlanta area.
Bon Jovi was owner of the Philadelphia Soul, an Arena League team for five years from 2004-2009.
"Since helping to establish the Philadelphia Soul Arena Football team -- from its inception through our 2008 championship season -- I have always made clear my desire to someday enter the NFL," Bon Jovi said.
The two sides have signed a confidentiality agreement not to disclose details of negotiations but a league source pegged the financial talks based on a $1 billion valuation of the Atlanta franchise. Each percentage point would be valued at $10 million to arrive at the proposed $150 million on a 15 percent purchase, another source said.
Chris Mortensen is ESPN's senior NFL analyst.