With Buffalo Sabres owner Terry Pegula looking like the clear-cut favorite to become the next owner of the Bills, a pair of groups interested in owning the team have discussed the possibility of teaming up. According to Tim Graham of the Buffalo News, Jon Bon Jovi‘s Toronto-based group has reached out within the last few days to Jim Kelly about joining forces to make a run at the Bills, and the Kelly group didn’t immediately rule out the possibility.
Bon Jovi’s group has appeared to be losing momentum recently, having reportedly submitted an unacceptably low initial bid and only being allowed to move onto the final stage of the sale process after providing assurances that they didn’t intend to move the franchise. Graham reported this week that the group is “unfocused and disorganized,” with major tension among the various involved parties.
As for Jim Kelly, his brother Dan Kelly, and the rest of their family, Graham writes that they’ve met with several potential ownership groups in the months since longtime owner Ralph Wilson passed away, but haven’t been able to strike up a partnership with any bidders yet. Multiple sources tell Graham that the Kellys have asked for the following terms in any partnership: A 2% equity in the team, lifetime jobs for Jim and Dan, an up-front cash payment for their services, and final say on all football decisions. One source tells Graham that the Kellys may be open to giving up football decision-making if they join the Bon Jovi group.
Still, while discussions may have occurred, it doesn’t appear any partnership between the two groups is imminent. For what it’s worth, Jim’s wife Jill and daughter Erin both tweeted out comments tonight suggesting that Graham’s report is inaccurate. “To think that anyone would think for a minute that Jim would ever link up with ownership that would move our beloved Bills is ludicrous,” Jill Kelly said in a separate tweet.
In response, Graham published several tweets of his own, indicating that he’s confident in his report and has “about seven sources” on the story. John Wawrow of The Associated Press added (via Twitter) that he’s heard rumblings about a potential Bon Jovi/Kelly partnership as well, though it’s unclear how far those discussions have progressed.