- Chris Mortensen, NFL reporter
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Don't doubt New Jersey rocker Jon Bon Jovi's love of football. He wants on the NFL stage and not as a performing artist.
When Bon Jovi appeared on the field before the divisional round playoff game between the Atlanta Falcons and eventual Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers, he was wearing the Falcons' red-and-black colors.
Thus, the discussions and negotiations between the Falcons and Bon Jovi on a 15 percent minority ownership stake certainly bring more clarity to his appearance at the Jan. 15 game.
Bon Jovi on Tuesday reinforced a clearly stated desire to be a member of NFL ownership.
"Since helping to establish the Philadelphia Soul Arena Football team -- from its inception through our 2008 championship season -- I have always made clear my desire to someday enter the NFL," Bon Jovi said through spokesperson Tiffany Shipp.
Bon Jovi further confirmed an ESPN.com report that he has been in confidential negotiations after being approached by the Falcons "some months ago."
However, Bon Jovi concurred with Falcons owner Arthur Blank that talks have stalled or possibly awaiting a decision, though it doesn't diminish his passion to join the NFL ownership club.
League sources say that Bon Jovi's proposed investment of as much as a 15 percentage stake and $150 million is not to be dismissed.
"For someone of Jon Bon Jovi's stature, this is more a matter of lifestyle than economics," said Marc Ganis, a Chicago-based professional league sports consultant on stadiums and other finances. "Bon Jovi loves sports and he clearly loves football and the NFL. He clearly has earned enough money in music and has royalties coming in where he doesn't have to work another day if he so pleased. But it's an opportunity to park some money in a place that brings him joy, in this case the NFL. He won't generate any returns on that money until there's a sale, so he builds equity financially and he's certainly not going to lose money.
"But I think the bigger deal for Bon Jovi is he gets to be part of a special club, maybe not as a majority owner but the [15 percent] stake is significant money. Would it be cool for him to sit around an NFL draft meeting or enjoy access others only dream of? Absolutely. Is it a first-step opportunity that could grow into something more significant? Maybe."
Blank and other owners across the NFL have been aggressively seeking minority-stake investors. The reason is simple, according to Ganis.
"The lending institution -- the banks -- used to lend money regularly to these NFL teams without what you might interpret real assets, as opposed to [a projected valuation]," Ganis said. "An owner has to use something other than the team to secure a significant loan -- he has to use real assets and get a reasonable return. A lot has changed in the last three years. A 15 percent investment may not sound like a lot but it is a pretty tangible amount for a bank to measure when considering a loan."
Chris Mortensen is ESPN's senior NFL analyst.
15hEric D. Williams
2dSharon Katz & Hank Gargiulo