Donald Trump has come out publicly to state his interest in buying the Bills, reports Tim Graham of The Buffalo News. Trump stressed that he was sincere in his attentions to acquire the franchise, and according to Graham, multiple sources have already confirmed that Trump has spoken to Bills president and CEO Russ Brandon.
Trump has his own checkered history with the NFL dating back to his days as the owner of the USFL’s New Jersey Generals. Trump would eventually lead the newly formed league to challenge the NFL in court, with a high-profile antitrust lawsuit.
However, Trump does not believe that will negatively affect his ability to acquire the Bills, nor would it influence his working relationship with other owners should he purchase the team.
“I think the NFL owners respected me for it because I took a dead league and made it hot,” Trump said. “The NFL owners that I know and are very honest about it, they’ll tell you I did a good job and they have respect for me. And I have respect for them.”
The most important part of Trump’s intentions for NFL fans was his promise to keep the team in Buffalo, as opposed to moving it to Toronto or Los Angeles. In an attempt to convince his skeptics, Trump noted that his residency in New York leaves only about an hourlong plane ride to fly to Buffalo, and that moving the franchise across the country wouldn’t make sense for an owner who would want to be near it.
Trump, who Forbes estimates is worth close to $4 billion, is thought to be the frontrunner at this time, as he is the only one to publicly declare his interest. Another group, Toronto’s Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment – led by rock star Jon Bon Jovi – is rumored to be in the mix. MLSE would perhaps move the team to Toronto.
Graham notes that current Buffalo Sabres owner Terry Pegula and former owner Tom Golisano could enter the mix, and while Buffalo native Jeremy Jacobs has made it clear he would not sell the Boston Bruins to make a run at the Bills, his children could still legally acquire the franchise.
Graham writes that the earliest a purchase could be finalized is October, and the likely time of sale would happen in either December or January.