Updates from Monday, April 14
Donald Trump talked more about being interested in buying the Buffalo Bills with Tim Graham of the Buffalo News:
I'm going to give it a heavy shot," Trump told me by phone this afternoon from his office in Manhattan. "I would love to do it, and if I can do it I'm keeping it in Buffalo."
Trump also wanted to erase any doubt he would move the team to Los Angeles or Toronto. He spoke about the loyalty of Bills fans and the team's importance to the region.
But Trump also has a selfish reason for leaving the Bills here. His Boeing 757 could leave LaGuardia Airport and deplane at Prior Aviation in an hour.
"I live in New York, and it's easier for me to go to Buffalo than any other place," Trump said. "Where am I going to move it, some place on the other side of the country, where I have to travel for five hours?"
The NFL might have to start getting ready for Donald Trump.
After successful careers in real estate and television, the billionaire is considering becoming an owner of the Buffalo Bills. In an interview on WBEN radio in Buffalo, N.Y. (h/t Mike Rodak of ESPN.com), Trump explained:
People have actually talked to me about the Bills. I mean, the group of people called me -- would I be interested in investing, and I'll take a look at it. I mean, I look at a lot of things. I'll take a look at it. [...]
I know so many people in Buffalo, and they have asked me about looking at that and I certainly would look at it, but I would ... if it were me, I'd keep the team in Buffalo. I think it's something that is really vital to the area. ... It would be catastrophic, in my opinion, if Buffalo lost the Buffalo Bills.
The future of the Bills organization has been placed in jeopardy due to the recent death of longtime owner Ralph Wilson Jr. The 95-year-old was the team's founder and the last of the original owners of the American Football League.
Wilson was also a major reason the organization has remained in Buffalo through the years.
There had been speculation that a new owner would be willing to relocate the franchise. However, John Kryk of the Toronto Sun notes that this could take a while:
In an interview Wednesday morning at the conclusion of the NFL annual meeting, the prominent sports-franchise consultant [Marc Ganis] said that whoever should buy the Bills in the wake of Ralph Wilson’s death on Tuesday cannot relocate the team from Western New York at any time over the remaining nine years of their lease agreement, which expires after the 2022 season.
The exception is the brief, well-known period of time following the seventh year of the extension — that is, after the 2019 season.
If Trump were to become an owner, it seems like he would be able to secure the long-term future of the Bills remaining in Buffalo. His comments suggest he would make keeping the team in Buffalo a priority, which is positive news for Bills fans.
Additionally, he explained in his radio interview that he is "very good friends" with former quarterback Jim Kelly, who has also promised to keep the team in Buffalo.
Trump certainly has the financial resources to pull off such a move. According to Forbes, his net worth stands at $3.9 billion. The only question is whether commissioner Roger Goodell would be willing to allow such an outspoken individual into the fraternity of owners.
The Apprentice star has become a major celebrity and even considered running for president in 2012. The NFL might not want someone who could cause problems from a media relations standpoint being so directly involved in the league.
Trump is a polarizing figure, so this remains an intriguing situation to monitor over the coming weeks and months.
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