Donald Trump has a history of concocting publicity stunts to promote his entrepreneurial and political interests. But the billionaire told Tim Graham of the Buffalo News Monday that his reported interest in buying the Buffalo Bills -- and keeping the team in Buffalo -- is legitimate and serious.
Graham cites multiple sources who confirmed Trump has discussed his interest with Bills President and CEO Russ Brandon on two occasions. Trump announced he was approached by a group looking to buy the team two weeks ago.
"I'm going to give it a heavy shot," Trump told [Graham] 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."
As far as speculation that the small market-challenged Bills will ultimately wind up in Los Angeles or Toronto, Trump praised the loyalty of Bills fans and the important role the team plays in the Western New York region as reasons for keeping the franchise in Buffalo. Trump also likes Buffalo's proximity -- an hour's flight on his own Boeing 757 -- to his New York City headquarters.
"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?"
Trump believes his former casino holdings and role in the USFL's $1.7 billion antitrust lawsuit against the NFL in 1984 won't hurt his chances to land a league franchise.
While Trump has been the only potential buyer to go public with his interest to buy the Bills, other groups have been also been linked to being potential bidders. Reportedly interested parties include Toronto's Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment partnered with rock star Jon Bon Jovi, Buffalo Sabres owner Terry Pegula, former Sabres owner Tom Golisano and Boston Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs.