The chance of Toronto getting a National Football League team may still be Livin’ on a Prayer, but thanks to a group headed by Jon Bon Jovi, the dream isn’t dead yet.
The rocker has been linked to the Buffalo Bills for at least a couple of years now, but recent reports indicate Bon Jovi’s investment group is looking to take the next step. Word has it the group has scouted possible stadium locations in the Greater Toronto Area – one of which was the Toronto city waterfront and another in Mississauga.
The source of this information is said to be close to Bon Jovi and his partners but only spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity as the group has not gone public with its intentions as of yet.
However, speculation is that Bon Jovi and his partners are steadfast in moving the franchise from Buffalo to Toronto in the event of a sale.
“It is my personal opinion that any bid associated with the Toronto group has a long-term interest in moving the team to Toronto,” Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz recently told the Associated Press.
Recent estimates value the Buffalo Bills franchise at about $870 million, while one of the stadiums being considered by the group has a reported estimate of between $800-900 million. It’s thought that a move to Toronto would increase the franchise’s value to at least $1.5 billion.
Meanwhile, on the field the Bills are trying to bounce back from yet another disappointing season. Buffalo started strong with wins over Carolina and Baltimore in its first four games but then dropped seven of its last nine on the way to a 6-10 record. The Bills are suffering through a 14-season playoff drought, so it’s obvious Bon Jovi’s group believes in buying low.
“We are a better team right now than we were last year at this time. We have to be able to convert that into wins,” Buffalo coach Doug Marrone said in a recent interview with NFL columnist Adam Schein. “There’s no doubt about it that we’re more athletic, we’re bigger, stronger faster. The system is under our belt, we’re moving around quickly, we’re making plays.”
The potential is certainly there. E.J. Manuel will be in his second season under centre with a number of weapons at his disposal like C.J. Spiller and Robert Woods. The defence ranked 10th overall last year and should be improved this time season as well.
Now it’s just about turning potential into wins. Sports Interaction has the Bills listed at +455 to make the playoffs, with a win total over/under of 6.5, so they have a long way to go to impress oddsmakers yet.