SBD/August 15, 2014/Franchises

Multiple L.A. Groups Pursued Bills Deal, But Dropped Out Due To Relocation Backlash

Fans have been adamant about keeping the team in Buffalo
At least two suitors from L.A. "signed the nondisclosure agreement" to be involved in the Bills' sale process, but "abandoned pursuit upon discovering how much opposition there would be to moving the team" out of Buffalo, according to Tim Graham of the BUFFALO NEWS. Philanthropist Eli Broad signed the agreement to "review the Bills' confidential data in contemplation of buying the team." But sources said that Broad "examined the Bills and came away discouraged about moving the team because the NFL and too many powerful politicians are against it" (BUFFALO NEWS, 8/15).

SHOT THROUGH THE HEART: In Buffalo, Graham & Rey reported Jon Bon Jovi and his Toronto-based group are "trying to convince the community they are committed to keeping the team" in Buffalo, but the Buffalo Fan Alliance "believes it has uncovered documents that say otherwise." The "smoking gun is deep within corporate documents filed in Canada and includes a brief bio" of Rogers Communications consultant Roger Rai. The document states he "assists in the sports ownership affairs of Rogers Communications and was responsible for the acquisition of the Toronto Blue Jays and is part of the ownership group attempting to acquire and move the Buffalo Bills to Toronto" (BUFFALO NEWS, 8/15). QMI AGENCY's John Kryk cited sources as saying when the Bon Jovi group "finally met face-to-face" with Morgan Stanley bankers on Tuesday in Manhattan, the "management presentation was drama-free." But sources said that "permeating the room was an unspoken, shared sense that, yeah, we all have to go through with this, so let's just get through it." Attorneys from Proskauer "did not excessively question" Bon Jovi, MLSE Chair Larry Tanenbaum and Rogers Communications Deputy Chair Edward Rogers about their "non-relocation promise." The "sense of pessimism that had saturated the Toronto bid group two weeks ago -- when sources say the trio were informed their initial, non-binding bid fell hundreds of millions of dollars short of the one submitted" by Sabres Owner Terry Pegula -- has "not dissipated." Kryk: "Defeat seems more inevitable than ever" (QMI AGENCY, 8/14).

WHERE THE BUFFALO ROAM: In Buffalo, Jerry Zremski notes when fans arrive at Ralph Wilson Stadium for the Buccaneers-Bills preseason game on Aug. 23, they will see what $130M in renovations "will buy." Long lines at the gates and crowding in the concourses should be nothing but "memories." Clerks at concession stands will be able to "fill orders and process credit cards without scrambling." Portable concessions stands, which "blocked the walkways and caused congestion and annoyance, have been pushed back out of the main concourses" and into "new cubbyholes tucked under the stands on the field side of the concourses." The "cramped 'switchback stairs' that linked the stadium’s levels" are now "gone, replaced by two 'monumental staircases' at the 50-yard line on both sides of the stadium." Bills CMO Marc Honan said that in addition to being "easier to navigate, the wide staircases also will allow much more natural light to enter the center of the concourses." Zremski notes the game’s radio broadcasts will be "piped into every bathroom" (BUFFALO NEWS, 8/15).
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