There was a time when Jon Bon Jovi was ready to become a permanent fixture in Buffalo, N.Y., but a negative experience - spurred by Donald Trump - led the rocker to vow he’d never set foot in the city again.

It was 2014 when the NFL’s Buffalo Bills were up for sale. Bon Jovi, an ardent football fan, was part of a group bidding to purchase the team. Trump was also eyeing the franchise, but he knew he’d be unable to match the financial might of the rocker and his Toronto-based partners.

As reported by GQ, Trump enlisted the help of Republican strategist Michael Caputo to create a grassroots campaign against Bon Jovi. Their main claim, that the rocker planned to move the team from Buffalo to Canada.

“I can tell you, I swear to you on a stack of Bibles, because I had to have this hardy conversation with the two partners: ‘We’re not gonna get this unless we keep this here,’” Bon Jovi recalled in a 2020 interview, insisting the plan was to always keep the Bills in Buffalo. “I was calling the town councilman, telling him, ‘I’m moving to Buffalo, New York!’”

Trump’s plan worked, to a certain degree. Fans of the team turned against the rocker, with a group called “12th Man Thunder” springing up to host anti-Bon Jovi events. In the end, the musician and his partners would not get the Bills, but neither would Trump. Terry Pegula, a local businessman and owner of the Buffalo Sabres NHL team, purchased the franchise for $1.4 billion.

Bon Jovi still calls the experience “one of the biggest disappointments” of his life. “I won’t ever go back to the city of Buffalo,” the singer asserted. “You will never see my face in Buffalo ever. I have knocked it off the map.”


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