ABOVE: Bon Jovi publicist says story about Buffalo Bills “preposterous.” Alan Carter reports.
This post has been updated.
TORONTO — A spokesperson for Jon Bon Jovi denied Monday the rocker is partnering with the owners of Toronto’s pro sports teams in a bid to bring an NFL team north of the border.
According to reports, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (MLSE) and the New Jersey-born singer have devised a plan buy the Buffalo Bills and relocate the team to Toronto.
It’s an idea worth at least $2 billion — half to buy the team and half to build an NFL stadium.
Since NFL regulations prevent corporations from owning teams, Bon Jovi’s role would be to own the team while MLSE would build, own and operate the stadium.
But Ken Sunshine, publicist for Bon Jovi, dismissed the reports as “preposterous.”
He told The Associated Press the Bills are not for sale and Bon Jovi has too much respect for current owner Ralph Wilson to engage in discussions about buying the team.
The 51-year-old rock star was an investor in Philadelphia’s Arena Football League team in 2004 and, in 2011, expressed interest in becoming a partner in the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons.
Bon Jovi was recently inducted into the Air Canada Centre’s Hall of Fame for playing more concerts at the venue than any other act.
MLSE co-majority owner Rogers Communications Inc. has been lobbying for an NFL team in Toronto for years. The Bills have had a deal with Rogers since 2008 to play a handful of games at Toronto’s Rogers Centre.
MLSE owns the NHL’s Maple Leafs, the NBA’s Raptors and the MLS team Toronto FC.
MLSE CEO Tim Leiweke told the Toronto Star he is a “very good friend” of Bon Jovi and they “talk weekly about his NFL ambitions.”
In a statement, the Bills said: “The organization does not respond to reports of the interest other parties may have in ownership of the franchise or of speculation concerning various groups that may have such interest.”
Breaking the team’s lease deal with Erie County and New York State before the 2019 season would cost $400 million.
On social media, reactions to the speculation has made good use of some of Bon Jovi’s songs.
“Bon Jovi wants to buy the Bills? Makes sense, they’ve been living on a prayer for 20 years,” tweeted corrado_19.
Wrote StevieWilkes: “Hey Bon Jovi, you’ll be wanted dead or alive if you move the Bills.”