The Buffalo Fan Alliance leaders have released a statement expressing skepticism over the intentions of prospective Bills owner Jon Bon Jovi.
The alliance has proposed raising between $100 million and $170 million from tens of thousands of Bills fans, who could pay anywhere from $100 to $10,000 apiece. That fund then would be offered interest-free to someone buying the team and pledging to keep it here, creating an incentive worth around $10 million per year for a new owner. The alliance has signed up newly minted Hall-of-Famer Andre Reed among its high-profile supporters.
Statement from the Buffalo Fan Alliance in response to Bon Jovi's letter to Bills fans
Directors: Matt Sabuda, Brian Cinelli, Steve Brady
In the interest of all Bills fans, we appreciate Bon Jovi’s recent public statement and would like to believe that his group is committed to seeing the team remain in Buffalo for generations to come. Given the makeup of his group and some of the recent information that has come to light regarding their site selection process for a new stadium, however, we remain highly skeptical of the Bon Jovi group's intentions. While we appreciate his sentiment, it's worth noting that nowhere in his letter does he write or directly state or legally commit his group to 'not moving the Bills from Buffalo.'
Given the Bon Jovi group's roots and business commitments in Toronto, the Buffalo Fan Alliance believes that this group will have to tangibly and unequivocally demonstrate to Bills fans everywhere the group’s commitment to Western New York before this community and this fan base will believe their intentions. Anything short of formal action taken on their part will be viewed as nothing more than rhetoric.
If they are sincere in their commitment to Buffalo, we would ask them to enter into a binding pre-purchase agreement with the state and county whereby they would agree to proactively waive the one-year buyout clause in the seventh year of the current lease if they were to successfully purchase the team. If they are truly committed to Buffalo, such an escape clause would not be necessary for them anyway and this would be a simple and demonstrable first step of their sincerity for keeping the team in Western New York. As such, the Buffalo Fan Alliance would call for them to now publicly make such a commitment as a show of good faith on their part.
We also believe that they would need to announce formalized plans for a long term-stadium solution in New York either in advance of, or contemporaneously with, any successful ownership declaration. Whether this be a more comprehensive retrofit of Ralph Wilson Stadium or a new stadium altogether, a stated to frame and binding commitment to one of the two options needs to be taken by this group so that the team will remain viable in this region for a period well beyond the current lease term.