CEO says Bills not for sale
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Following a report Sunday from CBS Sports that rock star Jon Bon Jovi is interested in buying the Buffalo Bills, CEO Russ Brandon said Wednesday the team is not for sale.
"No," Brandon told WGR 550 in Buffalo. "Mr. [Ralph] Wilson is the owner of this franchise. We expect him to be the owner for many, many years."
On Monday, Bon Jovi publicist Ken Sunshine told The Associated Press, "the Bills are not for sale, and [Bon Jovi] has too much respect for Mr. Wilson to engage in any discussions of buying the team. ... It's preposterous to say he's had any discussions with the Bills and Erie County."
Brandon further downplayed the report Wednesday.
"I'll tell you this: Obviously it was a great way to start off my bye [week] Sunday, when I heard the news of this and listening to all of the nonsense relative to it," Brandon told WGR 550. "If we had to discuss and speak to every single individual that would have interest in buying an NFL franchise, that's all you would talk about on your show.
"But obviously Mr. Wilson and his peers were part of building one of the most successful sports leagues in the world over 50 years ago, and it should come as no surprise to anyone that there is a great deal of interest in succeeding him when that time comes, and we don't expect that time to come any time soon."
Brandon noted that the Bills signed a 10-year lease last year to stay at Ralph Wilson Stadium and are in the midst of a renovation project to update the 40-year-old venue. However, Brandon stressed the need to "keep [the] team viable" in one of the NFL's smallest markets.
"We have to work hard," he said. "We keep our ticket prices low. We have a lot of volume in this building. That's part of the process in moving a game to Toronto and moving our training camp to Rochester. We have to be a regional engine to be viable moving forward. That's the hand we're dealt."
To purchase the Bills or any other team, Bon Jovi would first have to clear hurdles at the league level.
"Anyone that is interested in buying an NFL franchise goes through the vetting process with the league," Brandon said. "There's a lot of interest. I know the Bon Jovi thing piqued a lot of interest. But if next week a hedge fund broker from New York City wants to buy an NFL franchise, is that a big story as well? We're going to just keep chasing ghosts if every time someone wants to buy an NFL franchise, we get brought up and it's a part of this discussion."
The Bills have the NFL's oldest owner in Wilson, who turned 95 last month.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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