Report: Documents hint at plan to move Bills to Toronto

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As if Bills fans didn’t already have enough reasons to believe Jon Bon Jovi has become a Trojan Horse for an effort by Toronto money men to move the franchise out of Buffalo, documents that provide the closest thing yet to a smoking gun have been found.

Via the Associated Press, the Buffalo Fan Alliance has found several press releases referring to Rogers communications consultant Roger Rai as part of an ownership group “attempting to acquire and move the Buffalo Bills to Toronto.”

Newly-minted Hall of Famer Andre Reed serves on the Buffalo Fan Alliance’s Advisory Board.  Last month, Reed expressed significant disdain for the Bon Jovi effort to buy the team, complete with the direction of a four-letter word to the seven-letter singer.

While Rai attributes the references to a “mistake” and tells the AP he’s not involved in the ownership group, the disclosure will do nothing to persuade leery fans to believe that the recent proclamations by Bon Jovi of an intention to keep the team in Buffalo lack credibility — especially since Bon Jovi’s letter carefully avoids making an unconditional commitment to keeping the team in Western New York.

It once seemed that Bon Jovi had an inside track to securing the Bills, even if he wouldn’t have been the controlling owner of the team.  It now seems that Bon Jovi will need to try to find another group to supply the bulk of the cash for the acquisition of another team, whenever another team becomes available to purchase.

114 responses to “Report: Documents hint at plan to move Bills to Toronto

  1. I really am sick of this. I actually used to like this guy. The Buffalo Bills belong in Buffalo, period. Go away. Without The Bills.

    Patriots fan

  2. nighty night Toronto Group….also Ron Jaworski is no longer welcome in WNY, he has gotten off easy on this after claiming his good friend Mr Bovine Jovi has no intentions of moving the team.

  3. When Cleveland moved to Balt, the only 2 owners to vote against the move were Rooney and Wilson, so Ive always respected those guys. Hope Haslam votes to keep Bills in Buff. Return the favor.

  4. I’m on the West Coast and finally I broke down and did the Google Maps on this. Toronto is like a 2 hour drive from Buffalo.

    It’s not like they’re moving to St. Louis.

  5. I honestly do not get the move to Toronto thing. Buffalo is a great city and it’s bigger than a number of other cities supporting NFL teams, particularly when you add in its metro areas. Moving the team doesn’t make sense, let alone to a bland foreign city like Toronto that’ll be covered in glaciers pretty soon anyway.

  6. Whenever I see Bon Jovi or Donald Trump all I see is them both sitting in the pimped out luxury box with Robert Kraft, while the media calling the game start filming them and name dropping various celebrities. When you’re wealthy enough money comes secondary to status…

  7. seriously, screw bon jovi. no place in the nfl for celebrity owners. this isnt some game where you can just be like “oh, i’ve got a boatload of money, i’ll just buy an nfl team and displace them at will.”

    this isnt the nba or the nhl. its called the NATIONAL football league. not INTERnational. thats why canada has its OWN football league.

    keep the Bills at home!

  8. Am I the only one who doesn’t see plain as day what’s going on here?

    JBJ wanted to move the team, then he got the non disclosure agreement. That agreement clearly said you cannot move the team. So JBJ then tried to do some damage control, and cover up that he wanted to move the team. All the while he and his group knows full well they will sit on the team and pretend to make it work until the opportunity to move presents itself.

    It’s quite obvious.

  9. Bon Jovi is just a patsy in his process. The fact that he doesn’t understand this just proves how clueless he and his ownership group are.

  10. All the furor over this makes me wonder where the outrage was when Bud Adams wanted to leave Houston for friggin’ Nashville.

    Ah, the pre-internet days.

  11. Said it before, been to Buffalo several times…good town with good fans. The Bills have always been there, and should always remain there. It seems like this thing keeps dragging along. Finalize the sale to an owner/owners who will keep the team in Buffalo where it belongs, and be done with it!

  12. Move them or keep them in Buffalo! Does it matter? It’s not like the NFL will lose out on fans & or money! If the Bills move they will pick up more fans & make more money. The Bills are not my fav team just like 99% of other NFL fans. Looks like Buffalo had their chance.

  13. Toronto can’t sell out the NFL games it currently gets, it can barely get 10,000 people to CFL games (and they just won the Grey Cup two years ago), and if it ain’t the Leafs, Torontonians generally couldn’t care less.

    This is all about TV. Get a top 5 North American market in the fold and maybe sell TV rights in Canada at a higher rate now.

  14. I live in buffalo – Bon Jovi hope you learned something but school is over take you notebook and go back home! Bills are staying! It is a great NFL town – now we just have to figure out how to start winning again…

  15. What NFL team has an unconditional commitment to keep their team in the same city? Answer: None. You have a contract for a commitment to a stadium in a city for 7 to 10 years. After that, a team can move, especially if economics aren’t working. No owner including the Sabres owner in Buffalo would agree to that. The best you can hope for is you get an owner who has strong economic ties to the area and part of the purchase agreement is to commit to a stadium long term contract with perhaps improvement stipulations and funding formula.

  16. Just move them to Hamilton, ON. Half way between Buff and Toronto.

    The canucks can claim them as their own and the Buff fans just need to get stripped searched 3 times on game day, crossing the border twice and entering the stadium.

    Seems like a win, win, win, win, win.

  17. When I have a secret plan I always issue press releases about it. How could people this dumb ever accumulate enough wealth to try and buy an NFL team?

  18. Instead of moving the team, just give Toronto an expansion team along with LA. Enough of this relocation crap! Moving the Bills out of Buffalo is ridiculous.

  19. Even though Buffalo fans seemed to revel In the idea of the Jaguars moving when that was a hot topic, I will not act in kind.

    Tradition dictates the Bills should stay in Buffalo.

  20. Why not just move the team to Toronto and keep on calling them the “Buffalo Bills”. Heck, it works for the East Rutherford “New York” Giants/Jets, and Santa Clara “San Francisco” 49ers.

  21. Dear Bon Jovi:

    “You give love a bad name”. “Say it isn’t so”. You cannot move the Bills to Buffalo. Maybe we all “Misunderstood”, but you were “King of the Mountain” when you said that you would keep the Bills in Buffalo. Now that the truth is out, you are “Out of Bounds” and becoming “Nobody’s Hero”. I can only hope that you obtain a “Little Bit of Soul” and take a “Time Out” from considering ownership of the Bills. Because when you move the Bills to Toronto, you will be “Wanted Dead or Alive”, people will be wondering “Why Aren’t You Dead” and you will run the risk of being “Shot Through the Heart”. “Runaway” now and “Never Say Goodbye”. “Have a Nice Day”.

  22. LOL at folks saying if the Bills moved to Toronto it would only be two hours away. Ok using that logic then the Philadelphia Eagles should move to Newark NJ and the fans should be so happy b/c it is only 2 hours away

  23. The Bills will never, EVER move to Canada………..Canada/Toronto will never, EVER have any kind of NFL team. Torotno only supports the Maple Laughs, and they are a joke anyways. Bye bye you washed up lying sack of crap JBJ!!!

  24. Bon Jovi wasted all of his goodwill by aligning with a group that wants to move the team to Toronto. That’s the price he pays for being a figurehead for a group. He’s doesn’t have the cash to make representations regarding the team’s intentions.

  25. I don’t know but if I were Bon Jovi, I’d avoid adding Buffalo as part of my next world tour.

    Just sayin’…

  26. People you do realize there is no chance the Bon Jovi Group will win the bidding process.

    This story is more to state that it probably is the final nail in the coffin.

    The team will likely be bought by Pegula who of course will keep them in Buffalo.

    To the guy who noted Toronto is only 2 hours away no big deal…. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

  27. As a Fins fan let me say that unlike fair weather Fins fans (and there are a few, quite a few…they are called Heat fans now…or were, since LeBron is gone…), Bills fan are loyal to a tee (even with a crappy team!) and if the Bills move to Toronto, every single Bills fan ought to protest very loudly in front of 1 Bills Drive and let them know moving to Toronto will not be tolerated!

  28. Dear Bills fans,

    If you truly love your team, let them go. Let the team move on to a better, healthier place where it can be happy. you tried the relationship, and it just isn’t working. I know its hard. You will be lonely without the team, but in your heart, you know this is for the best. maybe once it moves, it can attract some free agents and field a competitive team. the team can realize its full potential without the weight of Buffalo around its neck holding it down. let it go, and be happy for it.

  29. Booo!!!!
    wouldn’t the cash conversion make this a nightmare for the nfl? you’d sell 60,000 tickets and only make revenue on 43,000 tickets

  30. LONG STORY SHORT: Goodell wants the Bills in Toronto. Until we’re proven other, what Goodell wants, Goodell gets.

    Until Goodell is somehow removed from the equation, all the hopes of a dream owner keeping the Bills in Buffalo doesn’t mean squat.

    The Bills will be moving.

  31. bucrightoff says:Aug 14, 2014 12:07 PM

    Toronto can’t sell out the NFL games it currently gets, it can barely get 10,000 people to CFL games (and they just won the Grey Cup two years ago), and if it ain’t the Leafs, Torontonians generally couldn’t care less.

    This is all about TV. Get a top 5 North American market in the fold and maybe sell TV rights in Canada at a higher rate now.
    ———————————————————-
    The Bills haven’t sold out their games in Toronto because:
    – The Bills haven’t been very good in the last ten years.
    – Toronto the city tends to support what’s “theirs”, not a one game rental per year.
    – Rogers Communications had an agreement with the Bills to play here and tickets were vastly overpriced. The thing is, corporate ownership isn’t allowed in the NFL so the only guy from Rogers who would have partial ownership in the Bills is a consultant.
    – Canadian laws have lame restrictions on things like tailgate parties. Granted, small things like that won’t stop people from going to the games if Toronto has THEIR OWN team.

    The Toronto Argonauts average 22,000 so at least have your facts straight before posting them. 22,000 is the lowest average in the league, but the CFL is treated as the minor leagues here. There are only three cities in Canada that put the CFL ahead of the NFL, and each one of those cities has no other professional sports teams to compete with and are practically in the middle of nowhere.

    Toronto residents were surveyed and said that they want an NFL team before anything else relating to sports.

    The Raptors have sucked for most of their existence and nearly year in and year out they are in the top ten in terms of attendance in the NBA. Ever since TFC started, they have been in the top ten for attendance in the MLS. The Leafs are top ten in the NHL with regards to attendance, and without looking I would guess that they’re top three. So yeah, an NFL team would certainly sell out games consistently.

    And it certainly is about money and TV. It always is in the NFL. I get Bills fans not being happy. I get fans of any team not being too happy. But lets not act like a Toronto team wouldn’t be more profitable. Toronto produces the fourth most revenue in North America, compared to Buffalo which is way up their in the 4000’s. It’s pretty straight forward.

    If you didn’t realize by now, I’m from Toronto. All that said, I would prefer the Bills to stay in Buffalo and Toronto get a different team or an expansion team. I enjoy going to Buffalo to watch Dolphins games. I respect most of the Bills fans in Buffalo. But if they move, they move. It isn’t as if the move makes no sense — It makes plenty.

  32. “so does that mean the Bills can move to the AFC North…..???”

    If the AFC East takes the Ravens, I’m game

  33. Blah blah blah….There can only be two scenarios. Either the Wilsons want all the money they can get.. or they are determined to sell to someone who will keep the team in Buffalo. Either way they have to consider all offers to keep the bids high.

    This has little to do with the NFL and alot to do with the Wilsons and whoever is working on behalf of the Estate.
    Am sure some owners within the NFL would like to see a larger Market as part of th pool, some may be opposite. As long as the financials are in place and the NFL deems the buyer worthy, am sure tis will be done…so it’s really up to the curent Ownership as to who gets the team.
    So all this hoopla against any prospective buyer is junk.

  34. This is simple Buffalo is already supported by the droves of greater Toronto area folks who go south 7 games a year.
    Without these fans the bills would of left years ago… true story
    Either way you need our money so why not have a brand new building and 8 plus million people living within 2 hours of it plus all the corprate sponsors.
    Either get on board with the Toronto Bills or Lose Them To LA or even worse London……

  35. The Bills need to stay in WNY and I’m pretty sure they will.

    Toronto is over 2 hours from Orchard Park, NY. Going to the game from the USA would require a special license or a passport and the only way to get there from WNY is by using the Peace Bridge. So a 2 hour drive + thousands of other vehicles traveling on a bridge where you need to get checked + normal daily traffic… I’m pretty sure most fans would choose to watch the game at home or at a bar. Look at last seasons game in Toronto, they had an attendance of 38,969 with the roof closed. Most of the fans there were fans of other teams. It was not a ‘home’ game at all for the Bills.

    Good luck relying on Toronto.

  36. Bon Jovi is probably thinking that by moving the Bills to Toronto it could open up an entirely new market, while keeping a large part of the market they already have in Buffalo.

    The NFL is probably thinking that if they can get the Bills in another country, that’d help their case to get an NFL team in London.

    I for one don’t want to see a London team, so I also say “No” to the Bon Jovi Bills.

  37. Ralph Wilson extorted the city and state with moving the team to Seattle if it didn’t build him a new stadium. This was back in 1971. Whomever buys the Bills is just going to extort them again. So Bills fans, if you love your team as much as you profess to, you might as well hand over your wallets now.

  38. With the exception to Green Bay, Chicago and Cleveland fan’s; you will not find a more dedicated fan base than in Buffalo NY. Sell out games when it’s under 20 and tail gating that starts and ends the same time in December as it does in September. Now it’s time to get back to tail gating for a meaningful game in January!

  39. be careful NFL management this would be a disaster stop chasing the almighty buck and do what is right. This coupled with the hints a pay per view is making me think Mark Cuban was on to something…

    how much money do you have to squeeze from us??

  40. Buffalo fans would love visiting their prosperous neighbor city of Toronto to see their Bills in a first class stadium; what’s all the fuss? Let those Buffalo fans have an excuse to party in Toronto.

  41. Toronto doesn’t want the Bills, especially with the CFL in the country.

    Another weak scare tactic at JBJ to try to keep him from owning the Bills.

    New Jersey Bills or Brooklyn Bills sounds good.

  42. Without the Bills, maybe people in Buffalo could go see an NBA game… oh, you don’t have one. Maybe a major league baseball game… oh, you don’t have one of those either. Are you sure Buffalo is worthy to be called a major league sports town?

  43. Roger is in favor of the NFL in other countries. This could be interesting. I wouldn’t be surprised if they did buy the team and split the home games between Buffalo and Toronto. At least until the lease at Orchid Park expires.

  44. Well, clearly someone is lying from this Toronto group. Might be the group lying to Bon Jovi. Might be Bon Jovi is in on it and the whole lot is lying.

    Hope whatever happens results in the Bills staying in Buffalo.

  45. Roger Rai: “What!? Wait!? No one told me! I didn’t know!”

    “I’m a victim of soycomstance.”

    (The Curley Howard defense.)

  46. Let’s put it this way, if LA didn’t get them, Toronto sure as hell isn’t either. LA had two suitors that signed the non disclosure agreement but abandoned pursuit upon discovering how much opposition there would be to moving the team. Buffalo will stay right where it belongs!! Go Bills!!!!

  47. the riots in OP and buffalo would be epic if Bon Jovi ends up winning the bid for the Bills….you can’t have the drunkest fans in the NFL upset about their team moving and not expect LA riots from the early 90s level revolts.

  48. Sabres owner is a Buffalo sports nut who just got $1.75 Billion in his bank, so put 2 & 2 together.

  49. I will continue to reference the Supersonics saga:

    Clay Bennett Part II

    If this move happens, Buffalo fans will probably find out that a bigwig with the Toronto group is best friends with the league commissioner. And emails and documents that say one thing – will be immediately retracted by the ownership group as being misconstrued, as what they meant was the complete opposite. BS!!!!

    This does not bode well for the city of Buffalo and the diehard fans who have supported the franchise for over 50 years!

  50. Didn’t PFT recently report that Bon Jovi had lunch with Roger Goodell, and that he was feverishly taking notes as Goodell gave advice. I wonder what Goodell was saying to him… Perhaps giving advice on how to make a move without bringing a lot of heat on himself and the commissioner’s office?

    It’s only my opinion, but I’ll say it again. Roger Goodell doesn’t act like a commissioner. He acts like a no-good politician.

  51. can we just leave our football in the US? do we really have to give a team to Toronto, then another to England? I just am kind of miffed here. killing our sport with the death of defense, and now you want to give away 1/16th of our teams away?

    boo this plan. leave it in the US.

  52. “The Bills need to stay in Buffalo. One of the things that makes the NFL great is the small market teams like Buffalo, Jacksonville and New Orleans.”

    That’s funny, I thought it was the football.

  53. I’m a Niners fan, but live hours from Rich Stadium. It has nothing to do with the distance of the move. It has to do with the fact that the Bills have die hard fans, fans that have been with them during this rough 14 year span. They need to stay in Buffalo and they need to win a championship (that’s a long shot) – but that is how the story is supposed to end. I have to live with these crazy rascal fans – the Bills will never be the same if they leave.

  54. The owners do not want to deal with another conglomerate like Rogers and nobody else has the money to move the team to Toronto. Even though I think it wouldn’t be a bad idea it’s not happening. So how about all the Canadian haters relax and go to a tea party rally or whatever else you do for fun.

  55. What if the Bills were moved to Toronto and the fans of all the other teams sat out the season in protest?

  56. The Bills haven’t sold out their games in Toronto because:
    – The Bills haven’t been very good in the last ten years.
    – Toronto the city tends to support what’s “theirs”, not a one game rental per year.
    – Rogers Communications had an agreement with the Bills to play here and tickets were vastly overpriced. The thing is, corporate ownership isn’t allowed in the NFL so the only guy from Rogers who would have partial ownership in the Bills is a consultant.
    – Canadian laws have lame restrictions on things like tailgate parties. Granted, small things like that won’t stop people from going to the games if Toronto has THEIR OWN team.

    The Toronto Argonauts average 22,000 so at least have your facts straight before posting them. 22,000 is the lowest average in the league, but the CFL is treated as the minor leagues here. There are only three cities in Canada that put the CFL ahead of the NFL, and each one of those cities has no other professional sports teams to compete with and are practically in the middle of nowhere.

    Toronto residents were surveyed and said that they want an NFL team before anything else relating to sports.

    The Raptors have sucked for most of their existence and nearly year in and year out they are in the top ten in terms of attendance in the NBA. Ever since TFC started, they have been in the top ten for attendance in the MLS. The Leafs are top ten in the NHL with regards to attendance, and without looking I would guess that they’re top three. So yeah, an NFL team would certainly sell out games consistently.

    And it certainly is about money and TV. It always is in the NFL. I get Bills fans not being happy. I get fans of any team not being too happy. But lets not act like a Toronto team wouldn’t be more profitable. Toronto produces the fourth most revenue in North America, compared to Buffalo which is way up their in the 4000’s. It’s pretty straight forward.

    If you didn’t realize by now, I’m from Toronto. All that said, I would prefer the Bills to stay in Buffalo and Toronto get a different team or an expansion team. I enjoy going to Buffalo to watch Dolphins games. I respect most of the Bills fans in Buffalo. But if they move, they move. It isn’t as if the move makes no sense — It makes plenty.
    ———————————————————-

    Well said sir. Finally somebody with a brain!

  57. It is really sad to see the mean streaks of some commenters, especially since most our young people. You don’t have a clue about respecting tradition and other people’s feelings. WNY is so attached to the Bills and the Bills are well supported as a fan base. The corporate suite business is not as good as other major market teams, but the fan attendance and merchandising is just as good. Just because Buffalo and Rochester are not Boston, Dallas, Seattle, DC… doesn’t make it a bad football area. Look at Green Bay. The Bills are no where near the bottom in attendance in the NFL, and they haven’t been to the playoffs in 14yrs.

    It’s real easy being mean behind a keyboard and monitor.

  58. I sincerely hope that no fan of the NFL would ever attend this clown’s concerts again. I mean, I can’t understand what would motivate someone to do so before all of this. But now? This ploy, even if it falls through, is basically the definition of adding insult to injury.

  59. @tedesco47: Toronto residents were surveyed and said that they want an NFL team before anything else relating to sports. Well that comment sure makes your case (sarcasm).
    Toronto already has an NHL team. They have a MLB team. They have an NBA team. They have a MLS team (if you consider that professional). What exactly did you expect to top the survey? Maybe a frisbee team or jump rope?
    You may slag the CFL, but it is the only football Toronto will ever see. The CFL and NFL are both great games, enjoy them both. Congratulations Buffalo, you win!

  60. “What NFL player wouldn’t want to pay Canadian taxes eh?”

    Not much different than California or New York.

  61. The games they play here are far from “sold out”! They announce that to drive interest. The days before the game you can get a free ticket for ordering a bowl of soup in most places. They would be more popular if it was a Toronto team but as mentioned above nobody the owners will accept has the money. They point blank said they will not deal with another conglomerate.
    The only interesting part is that with the CA the way it is they may be able to compete! The Rapters have a long list of people they traded for or picked up as free agents that they had to pay even though they refused to play in Canada. I would like to see an NFL player try that! The commish would have him erased from history.

  62. If the Bills would return to WINNING, this wouldn’t be an issue. The fans are probably tired of losing seasons. Winning cures a lot of issues.

  63. Leave The Bills in Buffalo! As a Browns fan, I know the pain of losing your Football team! Baltimore lost theirs in the middle of the night, and still embraced the Ravens with open arms. I know Bills fans wouldn’t be hypocrites, so leave the Bills in Buffalo!!!!!!

  64. LOL at folks saying if the Bills moved to Toronto it would only be two hours away. Ok using that logic then the Philadelphia Eagles should move to Newark NJ and the fans should be so happy b/c it is only 2 hours away
    ……………….

    AND, maybe 30 to 40 thousand fans crossing the Peace Bridge with passports in hand for a 1:00pm kickoff??? Should we get in line at 4am??

  65. Loyal Bills fans don’t deserve to be screwed for a second time. The first time was in 1950, after the AAFC folded and the NFL refused to take in that league’s decent Buffalo Bills team. Instead, the NFL chose to take in the pathetic Baltimore Colts team (no relation to the Colts team that started play in Baltimore in 1953), which folded after only one year of play in the NFL.

  66. Blame Roger Goodell and other head honchos for this. Playing games in Toronto and Hawaii, taking games away from the home team fans of those teams. It Toronto wants a football team, let them start their own league. The NFL is for American fans.

  67. You Americans may hate that Bon jovi & group wants to purchase Buffalo, but stop hating on Toronto!
    Truth be told, Toronto would make ENORMOUS revenue for the Buffalo Bills if they moved here, because we support all our teams 100%! So sick of Toronto being used by the U.S…shoot a movie here and claim the city as your own…
    Take your loser team and get lost…we don’t want you here anyways!

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