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Preliminary Bills Bids Due Today

Buffalo, NY (WBEN) The next deadline for the Buffalo Bills bidding comes this afternoon at 5pm. From there, one insider says the process could move quickly.

The Process:
according to John Kryk
of The Toronto Sun

 Indicative (first, non-binding) bids are due on Tuesday at 5 p.m.  Expect all bidders to submit just minutes before that deadline.

Then presumably by the end of next week, the trust — as advised by investment bank Morgan Stanley — will select a small group of finalists, who they’ll meet individually in formal management presentations between Aug. 4 and 15.

After more financial revelations by both sides, finalists will submit binding, final bids.

By late September, or perhaps sooner, there likely will be a presumptive new Bills owner, awaiting approval by 24 of the NFL’s other 31 owners at the fall owners meeting in Detroit, Oct. 6-8.


John Kryk of the Toronto Sun anticipates these non-binding bids will be conservative. "What I'm told, bidders will not express how much they could be or be willing to bid once they get down to the nitty gritty," and Kryk expects bids for now to be in the $800-900 million range.

Kryk says by the end of the week, the trust will narrow the field to as few as two and as many as four bidders.   

On The WBEN Liveline

From Buffalo's Early News Tuesday Morning
with John Zach & Susan Rose

"They've set aside the weeks of August 4th and 11th to meet with finalist bidders in which presentation meetings will take place, and exchange more financial information about themselves," explains Kryk. Those will be done individually.

Kryk says once the trust picks a preferred bidder, the matter could be wrapped up in days. It's been hoped the sale could be approved during the October owners' meetings.

Without providing names, Erie County deputy executive Richard Tobe said he has been approached by as many as 10 prospective ownership groups, which he has told to contact the team.
Buffalo's  Guessing Game :  Who  will bid? And who is likely to win?

"There's always conventional wisdom and of course there is always speculation,"  Marc Ganis, president of SportsCorp., a national consulting firm that has worked with several teams, told WBEN . 

And with all guessing games there are rules. Ganis has found that the ones that persevere through the process usually have something in common with each other, and he's developed three rules for handicappers and speculators to take into account
Marc Ganis's Three Rules
To Handicap Possible Bills Owners

#1-  "People who are seeking their name to be out there are almost certainly not likely to get it."

#2.The league has tended to look more kindly on single owners, "somebody who can simply cut the check themselves" rather than "somebody who's trying to put a group together"

#3- "The people who are the most serious are the ones who are working behind the scenes"

Here's a list of the likely suspects.

Former Sabres owner B. Tom Golisano in recent remarks in Rochester confirmed his interest, but he also  told USA TODAY that having an owner who won't move the team is for him the greater priority. "Do I feel it has to be me? No, I'm not possessed about owning the Buffalo Bills, just as I wasn't possessed about owning the Buffalo Sabres. They were in danger of leaving, too. In fact they were a lot closer to leaving than the Bills are. I got involved then because I wanted to keep that entity in western New York, and I want to keep the Buffalo Bills in western New York."

California-based bond fund manager Jeffrey Gundlach expressed interest in buying the Bills three years ago. Gundlach, who founded DoubleLine Capital, is a Bills fan and has ties to Buffalo.

Public statements from Boston Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs or his immediate family  have eliminated him from contention. Jacobs' NFL interests date to the late 1990s, when he failed in a bid to purchase the Browns in their return to Cleveland. NFL rules bar owners from running sports teams in separate markets, meaning Jacobs would either have to give up his holdings in the Bruins or, perhaps, have members of his family run the Bills.

Bills' Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly has made no secret that he'd like to be part of an ownership group, but has said he would not be the lead owner submitting a bid on his own.

Buffalo Sabres owner Terry Pegula and his wife Kim have hired a sports broker attorney Steve Greenberg, of Allen & Co., which is regularly involved in sales of sports teams. The Pegulas have not publicly said whether they will try to buy the NFL team but the Pegulas were among prospective buyers who received a non-disclosure agreement and background on the Bills from a law firm representing Wilson's estate. A Pegula spokesman issued a statement last month saying the Pegulas "have a strong desire to have the Buffalo Bills remain a centerpiece of this region."

Two Toronto-based groups - Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment and Rogers Communications - have been mentioned, but Rogers's CEO says he would not submit a bid on his own.  
Rogers deputy chairman Ed Rogers III "has decided not to lead his own bid group , as has been speculated, reported, and even presumed by some," according to Toronto Sun columnist John Kryk.

Rock star Jon Bon Jovi is known to want an NFL team, and there are reports he will either submit a bid on his own or with Larry Tennenbaum of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment. Bon Jovi's  close friend Ron Jaworski, the former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback from Lackawanna  says that Bon Jovi is interested in the Bills, but not - as has been previously reported- with the intent to take the team to Toronto. Jaworski, an ESPN analyst,  is a part owner of the Philadelphia Soul Arena football team, a team that Bon Jovi once owned and helped found.   Despite those assurances, the AP says a  prospective ownership group that includes rocker Jon Bon Jovi has conducted a feasibility study into buying the NFL franchise and building a stadium in Toronto, citing a person close to the situation.

C. Dean Metropoulous-- the owner of Pabst Beer brands- a $1.3 billion businessman is considering a purchase according to several media reports . A spokesperson for Metropoulous is quoted in various sources saying Metropoulous has  always interested in buying a team ever since he lost a chance at the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2008 .

Real estate billionaire Donald Trump told WBEN in April  "I know so many people in Buffalo and they have asked me about (ownership) and I certainly will look at that... it's something that I think is really vital to the area."  Trump said, before adding that " It's a storied franchise" and " If it were me I would keep the team in Buffalo" .In more recent remarks to Fox News Channel, he said he doesn't expect his bid will win.

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