Given the cover boy mug, not to mention the fact he's wearing a pair of skin-tight, rust-colored pants that only a musician could pull off, anyone could be forgiven for not taking Bon Jovi too seriously when he starts talking about investments, strategies for running a successful company, and his preferred management philosophy. But don't let his appearance fool you.
Consider that in 2003, while on a world tour, Bon Jovi coughed up a reported $8 million to pay half of the start-up costs for the AFL's newest team. And consider that the Soul didn't exactly go the way of the defunct Houston ThunderBears from there. While many AFL teams burn through their start-up cash and more in their first few years, struggling to make a connection with a local fan base, the Soul made a profit and supporters turned out in droves. (The team led the league in attendance last year.) The team also inked NFL-style sponsorship and marketing deals that were unprecedented in the 19-year history of the indoor league. The Soul may now be the most popular of all AFL franchises. Its merchandise already outsells all other Arena League teams.
The bottom line: Yeah, he's good-looking and can carry a tune, but Bon Jovi is also a talented entrepreneur. His band, after all, has sold 100 million albums and has managed to knock out a few hits well after the Guns N' Roses of the world bloated away. If credit for that success goes to the self-managed Bon Jovi, credit for the Soul's success probably goes to Bon Jovi as well. And there's probably a link between the two. Bon Jovi believes his team has benefited from the long-standing goodwill between his band and the city that birthed both the Declaration of Independence and Rocky. "The band has played a lot of shows in Philly over the years," says Bon Jovi through those razor-cut bangs. "I did my first radio promotion work here. We made an album here, 7800 Degrees Fahrenheit. Before we even had a record out, we started coming down here and playing clubs.