On Thursday, Associated Press reporter John Wawrow erased the very few lingering doubts about the intentions of the Jon Bon Jovi group pursuing Buffalo Bills ownership with this report. In it, he conveys word that the group - which includes Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment CEO Larry Tanenbaum and the Rogers family - has already conducted studies on potential NFL stadium sites in Toronto and surrounding areas.
The report also indicates that Western New York locations have been looked into by the group, but given that any ownership group in pursuit of the franchise will need to keep the Bills in Buffalo for at least another half-decade, that particular detail is not surprising. Any and all bidders on the Bills will need to claim that they're keeping the team in the Buffalo region for the long term, simply to maintain the team's support through the end of the Ralph Wilson Stadium lease. Certainly, that detail was overshadowed by the idea that the Bon Jovi group is already looking into Toronto.
It has been widely reported and speculated that the trust making the final call on the Bills' sale is working with some directive to keep the team in Western New York for as long as possible. As such, Wawrow's report put a serious dent into the endeavors of the Bon Jovi group, as Tim Graham of The Buffalo News pointed out on Thursday afternoon.
Sports broker called me as soon as he saw @john_wawrow story on Bills/Toronto. Broker thinks story should be an A-bomb to MLSE's chances.— Tim Graham (@ByTimGraham) July 24, 2014
Which is why, shortly after the Wawrow report surfaced, a person working with the Bon Jovi group issued a denial that they're considering Canadian stadium sites in their bid.
"It’s the Buffalo Bills, and they will do everything they can to make that work there," said Andrew Bergmann, a Toronto engineer who is a stadium consultant for the group.
As long as the Bon Jovi group is backed by several billion dollars, it seems that they will be players in the sale of the Bills right up until the final decision is made. But it is crystal clear at this point that they'll have an uphill battle in convincing not just Bills fans and Western New Yorkers, but the aforementioned trust controlling the team, that they only have eyes for Buffalo long-term. And, no matter which way you slice it, that only makes their efforts to purchase the team more difficult.