"There's always conventional wisdom and of course there is always speculation," Marc Ganis, president of SportsCorp., a national consulting firm that has worked with several teams, told WBEN Friday.
|From The Associated Press March 26:
Here's a list of the likely suspects.
Bills' Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly has made no secret that he has put together a group of investors to buy the team. Kelly's health, however, has become an issue. The 54-year-old is preparing to undergo chemotherapy and radiation treatment following a recurrence of cancer.
- California-based bond fund manager Jeffrey Gundlach expressed interest in buying the Bills three years ago. Gundlach, who founded DoubleLine Capital, is a Bills fan and has ties to Buffalo.
- Buffalo Sabres owner Terry Pegula.
- Two Toronto-based groups - Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment and Rogers Communications - have been mentioned as groups interested in buying the Bills with the intention of relocating them north of the border.
- New Jersey rocker Jon Bon Jovi has expressed interest in becoming an NFL owner, and is close with MLSE President Tim Leiweke.
- Boston Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs or his immediate family can't be counted out. Jacobs is from Buffalo, and his Delaware North food service company is headquartered in the city.
Jacobs' NFL interests date to the late 1990s, when he failed in a bid to purchase the Browns in their return to Cleveland. NFL rules bar owners from running sports teams in separate markets, meaning Jacobs would either have to give up his holdings in the Bruins or, perhaps, have members of his family run the Bills.
Marc Ganis's Three Rules To Handicap Possible Bills Owners
#1- "People who are seeking their name to be out there are almost certainly not likely to get it."
#2.The league has tended to look more kindly on single ownerse "somebody who can simply cut the check themselves" rather than "somebody who's trying to put a group together"
#3- "The people who are the most serious are the ones who are working behind the scenes"
-- Ganis is president and founder of a Chicago-based sports business consulting firm. He's been involved in the development of more than two dozen sports facility projects including the new Yankee Stadium, Heinz Field, Toyota Center, and the Verizon Center. Ganis has lectured at a number of major universities including Harvard, Northwestern, and the University of Chicago
In recent days, Donald Trump has told WBEN that he has been approached to be part of an investment group. Trump is close to Buffalo Bills Hall of Fame QB Jim Kelly, who prior to his cancer diagnosis had talked of putting together an investment team.
The Toronto Globe and Mail has re-stated the strong interest of Canadians like Rogers Communications, and Jeremy Jacobs of his sons have also said they'd consider buying the team.
Jacobs ownership would be seen by the NFL as a strong choice, were his sons able to separate themselves from The Delaware North ownership that includes the NHL's Boston Bruins, Ganis says.
And trusts and estate law attorney Roy Cunningham with Lippes Mathias Wexler LLP has speculated that the late owner Ralph Wilson's trust may also specify who has a right of first refusal, giving an inside track to any one of the current administration and possibly team President Russ Brandon
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Buffalo, NY (WBEN) The Buffalo Fan Alliance, a group that's been fighting against football blackouts and is working on raising funds for a bonus to any owner that keeps the team here, is also keeping tabs on the Bills ownership transfer process.
"For us, it's not about time, it's about finding the right owner," says Matt Sabuda with the Buffalo Fan Alliance. "Obviously, we're sincerely hoping someone will keep the team in Buffalo and step up to be a candidate for the team."
Sabuda says he's not fussy on who the owner is, as long as the commitment to keep the Bills in Buffalo is there. "There certainly are the obvious candidates. The Pegulas, the Jacobs, even Bob Rich, all with strong ties to the community and we'll see how this falls out," explains Sabuda.
Sabuda does want to see transparency at every effort to ensure a local interest has the chance to buy the Bills and keep them here.