Does Jeff Bezos Want To Buy The Detroit Lions?

Rumors are swirling.

97.1 The Ticket
December 17, 2019 - 11:10 am
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(WWJ) In early November, Sports Illustrated broke the news: Mega billionaire amazon owner Jeff Bezos wants to own an NFL franchise.

Which one? No one knows for sure, but Detroit broadcaster Eli Zaret posits the Detroit Lions are in the mix.

As fans and pundits call for Martha Ford to sell the team, Zaret said on his "No Filter Sports"podcast that Bezos has visited the elusive Mrs. Ford under the cover of darkness at least twice.

"One step removed from the actual source, but the step is a friend who I trust totally and tells me to make this prediction. In 2020, Jeff Bezos will buy the Lions," Zaret said.

He added: "He (Bezos) has been here at least twice under the dark of night to have serious conversations."

Take that as you will.

Martha Ford has shown no inclination to sell, observers say, but she's 94 years old. The next generation of Fords have been tight-lipped about their plans for Lions ownership in the future  -- or if they have any plans to maintain ownership.

Fans have made their voice heard, with T-shirts telling the Fords to sell, signs emblazoned with the same message, and even lack of attendance at the most recent game.

#lions and #bucs kickoff at Ford Field

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Some on social media claim the pressure from fans is what's leading Martha Ford to discuss the team's ownership future, possibly with Bezos. Among the many considerations are the financial implications for the Fords if they sell -- or keep -- the team into the future.

"According to financial experts, it is not likely Ms. Ford sells the team in the near future due to the large capital gains taxes that would be owed. For simple financial reasons, the family's best interest is to remain part of the Lions' ownership group until Ms. Ford passes away," Sports Illustrated reported.

Whatever their plans are, it's pure conjecture at this point. What we do know is that Bezos has stupid money as the founder of Amazon, owner of Whole Foods, The Washington Post newspaper and Blue Origin, an aerospace manufacturer. And he's spent time in the company of NFL owners.

He watched last year’s Super Bowl with commissioner Roger Goodell in Goodell's suite and is known as a friend of Redskins owner Dan Snyder.

While he has no apparent ties to Detroit, Madonna, a Detroit native, urged Bezos in 2017 to get involved in the city, tweeting to him, ""@jeffbezos you, me, the motor city. Let's go and I will show incredible opportunities for almost instant impact in one of the coolest cities in America #Detroit."

Buying the Lions clearly isn't what she had in mind. But what's in his mind in a mystery. He never responded.

There's also the political angle: Bezos has openly feuded with President Donald Trump, a critic of the NFL and hater of sources of journalism including The Washington Post. Just last week, Amazon said Trump used “improper pressure” and behind-the-scenes attacks to ruin its chances of garnering a $10 billion Pentagon contract. Per the Detroit News, Amazon said it lost the deal due to Trump’s “personal vendetta against Mr. Bezos, Amazon, and the Washington Post.”

Trump has a tumultuous history with the NFL that goes back to the early 1980s when the billionaire real estate mogul was rebuffed in his efforts to buy the Baltimore Colts, and afterward  then-NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle allegedly told him, "As long as I or my heirs are involved in the NFL, you will never be a franchise owner in the league.”

Could buying an NFL team be Bezos' sweet revenge? Only time will tell.