Donald Trump told a Buffalo radio station that he has been approached about investing in the city’s NFL franchise and if it were up to him he would keep the Bills in Buffalo. Ralph Wilson, Jr., the only owner the team has known in its 54 seasons, passed away last week.
“People have actually talked to me about the Bills,” the real estate and reality TV star told WBEN radio. “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.”
Trump’s past involvement in professional football does not rank as a high mark of his business career. Many peg his tenure as New Jersey Generals owner as a primary reason for the downfall of the United States Football League. The Generals paid marquee money to the likes of Heisman Trophy winners Doug Flutie and Herschel Walker that set off skyrocketing salary demands that other owners were ill-equipped to satisfy and Trump insisted that the spring league compete head-to-head with the NFL in the fall. As a part of the USFL’s victorious lawsuit against the NFL, Trump and fellow litigants won a $3 award.
The Buffalo Bills have struggled in a weakening local economic climate, for the last several seasons playing a home game in nearby Toronto to tap into a stronger city’s fan base. With the death of Wilson, whose name graces the team’s stadium and who consistently bucked efforts to move the team despite not hailing from the area, rumors of a move to Los Angeles or elsewhere have gained strength. After more than a decade of no relocation, Buffalo, St. Louis, Jacksonville, and Oakland suffer through discussions of franchises skipping town for some other city. Saturday marked the 30th anniversary of the Colts midnight Mayflower truck move from Baltimore to Indianapolis.
“If it were me, I’d keep the team in Buffalo,” the real estate investor told WBEN radio. “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.”