For the last several weeks, Bills fans have been livin' on a prayer -- a prayer that their beloved franchise would remain in Buffalo in the wake of a bidding war for the team after longtime owner Ralph Wilson died in March.
Since Wilson's death, several suitors emerged in the pursuit of the ego trip that is owning a sports franchise. Donald Trump threw his hat in the ring, so did fracking billionaire Terry Pegula.
But the ire of Bills fans centered on one man, who earned himself a bad name on the streets of Buffalo -- rocker Jon Bon Jovi.
Fans feared that Bon Jovi and his ownership group, of which Bon Jovi would have been the principal owner, had designs on moving the franchise to Toronto.
The fans might be able to dust off their old cassette tapes now that Bon Jovi has reportedly withdrawn from the group because his potential bid as primary owner would likely not be large enough to surpass other suitors.
Bon Jovi is seeking new backers for a potential bid, according to the New York Post, though his chances seem slim.
It may be a long shot, but Bon Jovi is trying to join a long line of celebrities who have acquired a stake in a professional sports franchise.
It ranges from Gene Autry, who owned the California Angels, Bob Hope, who once owned part of the Cleveland Indians, and comedian Bill Maher with the New York Mets to Michael Jordan and the Charlotte Hornets, Jay Z with the Brooklyn Nets and Magic Johnson with the Dodgers.
What do celebrities get out of owning part of a franchise? How much do they typically own? And what's in it for the ownership group that brings them aboard?
"A lot of times it's an ego thing," said sports law attorney Scott Andresen, who is also on the faculty at Northwestern. "A lot of times I wonder if they even actually pay for that interest or if it was more of a sweat equity thing.
"Teams know there's a certain cache to having high-profile individuals as owners. They get to say they're an owner, sit in the skybox, but I'd say it's more of a publicity situation than an actual business investment."
There are also some business advantages, even if most celebrities usually acquire only a tiny percentage of an ownership share -- sometimes as little as one-tenth of 1 percent of a franchise.
Bon Jovi's interest in the Bills seemed to be more than cursory. He previously led a group that purchased the Philadelphia Soul of the Arena Football League and played a significant role in the direction of that franchise. Andresen said it was likely Bon Jovi would have played a similar role with the Bills as primary owner.
But in most cases, celebrity involvement in sports franchises is a strategic partnership between the ownership group and the celebrity. Both can benefit from the relationship.
From ownership's perspective, having a celebrity play a visible role with the franchise can increase fan engagement, help lure sponsors and secure lucrative television deals. For instance, members of the band KISS now run the LA Kiss, an Arena Football team, and have parlayed their ownership into a reality show revolving around the team on AMC.
"At some level, people are people and your celebrity status, you can sway things whether it's an athlete, musician or an actor," said Maury Brown, a contributor to Forbes SportsMoney. "It wouldn't be a surprise at all for a sponsor to say, 'Hey, I'm a big fan.' That changes the dynamic considerably compared to some lawyer or the marketing team. It absolutely is going to make a difference.
"That is really the drawing card of having a celebrity in your midst."
In particular, there have been two recent instances of celebrity involvement helping a team fortify its image -- Jay Z's partnership with the Nets and Johnson's involvement with the Dodgers.
As the Nets made the transition to Brooklyn, Jay Z, a native of Brooklyn, played a prominent role in helping to rebrand the franchise.
"They put him out in front in a lot of the meetings with various stakeholders they were trying to get involved with," said Courtney Brunious, associate director for the sports business institute at USC. "He helped them in the redesign of the uniforms and the logos to have a sort of hip appeal to a younger demographic. It gave a new spin on the whole Nets franchise."
With the Dodgers, Johnson's involvement with the team's new ownership group provided a familiar, comfortable face for Los Angeles sports fans after a bumpy end to Frank McCourt's ownership, which was riddled with a messy divorce between McCourt and his ex-wife, Jamie, and headache-filled bankruptcy proceedings.
"By having Magic up front and center with the new ownership group, it settled down the tension between the new group and the fans," Brunious said. "There's a certain amount of trust that Magic brings to the marketplace. Even if Magic didn't have a lot of say in what was going happening on a day-to-day basis, his involvement smoothed things out."
Celebrities can help scratch the backs of the other owners, and the owners are happy to reciprocate. They can get more than just a skybox view and the chance to hang out with athletes.
"You're going to make business partnerships," Brown said. "It might seem odd that somebody like Bon Jovi would take time out of his day to go talk to sponsors. But those are business relationships you build and that helps build out whatever you're doing in terms of diversifying what you do with your business interests."
Given that celebrity ownership is often small, they are not involved in the day-to-day operations of the team. Outside of Jordan, who is a former athlete in control of his franchise, it is rare to find a celebrity with a hand in personnel decisions -- and that can be a good thing.
"It's more of a win-win if you sometimes don't have them doing anything other than glad-handing," Andresen said. "Because the worst thing you can do is put someone in the position of an executive that has no capabilities of being an executive. That will actually cost you money and wins."
But overall, having a celebrity on board with a franchise introduces very little risk -- since the main job requirement is to sit there and look good.
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