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Bills in talks to extend deal to play in Toronto beyond 2012

TorontoStadiumGetty Getty Images

The Bills’ current deal to play in Toronto each year expires after the 2012 season. But Bills owner Ralph Wilson is negotiating with the owners of the Rogers Centre to continue his team’s regular visits north of the border beyond next year.

Bills owner Ralph Wilson told the Associated Press that his team and Rogers Communications have been in talks about renewing the Bills’ annual series of games in Toronto.

Wilson expressed optimism that the deal will get done, and he also offered one piece of information that should be good news for the fans: Ticket prices are likely to be reduced. The Rogers Centre believes filling the stadium has been difficult because Bills tickets, which have averaged $180 a seat, have been too high.

Rogers paid $78 million for the current package of five regular-season games and three preseason games. If ticket prices are lower, Rogers may expect to pay less for a future package of games.

The Bills will play one preseason game and one regular-season game in Toronto in 2012.

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48 Responses to “Bills in talks to extend deal to play in Toronto beyond 2012”
  1. joetoronto says: Dec 22, 2011 5:04 PM

    Bills fans will complain about this, not realizing that without Toronto, they don’t even exist anymore.

  2. sbxxix says: Dec 22, 2011 5:11 PM

    You learn something new everyday. Had no clue they played in Toronto.

  3. nineroutsider says: Dec 22, 2011 5:19 PM

    In the contract dealings, I would push back on how “play” is defined; not sure what Buffalo has been doing over the last 2 months can be considered “play”.

    Great start, embarrassing finish…

  4. trbowman says: Dec 22, 2011 5:21 PM

    Rogers Centre is such a dump

  5. JSpicoli says: Dec 22, 2011 5:24 PM

    Ticket prices going down, or we have contraction within 4 years.

  6. jfd117 says: Dec 22, 2011 5:27 PM

    Getting ready for a permanent move. With average ticket prices, the Toronto Bills will build a new stadium and have 80,000 fans every week. At least Buffalo had OJ.

  7. thefiesty1 says: Dec 22, 2011 5:30 PM

    That’s the only “international” game the NFL needs to play. No Europe, absolutely NO Mexico and no Far East games.

  8. stanmark says: Dec 22, 2011 5:33 PM

    @jfd117
    nobody in toronto will buy the team for $1 billion and build a $1 bill stadium. not happening. and no team can call rogers center home, even on the interim. its too small.
    way off base.

  9. fitzmagic1212 says: Dec 22, 2011 5:37 PM

    ralph wilson you sir are truly a terrible human being. the fans here support your team like no other city would. you give us garbage and we pay you hard earned money for it. you will make a total of 2.5 million dollars more for each game there. is it really worth it to you? how about put a decent team on the field then people in buffalo would pay more for seats. 12 years of no playoffs..sell the team already

  10. test2402 says: Dec 22, 2011 5:45 PM

    Tim Tebow will gladly play in Toronto.

  11. ammarradhi says: Dec 22, 2011 6:07 PM

    Your having a hard enough time selling tickets at Buffalo and you want to continue going to Toronto? They have Hockey, leave Football in the USA, and spend money on your team!

  12. grogansheroes says: Dec 22, 2011 7:19 PM

    I can see by the amount of posts that most Bills fans have given up. Too bad, they were in first place in September. And, they finally beat the Patriots. Oh that return the favor next week is going to be sweet. Enjoy watching the playoffs again.

  13. stanmark says: Dec 22, 2011 7:32 PM

    i hear you fitzmagic, i think renewing the lease (which coming soon) plus renewing the toronto deal will nail the bills down in buffalo through the ownership change. just my 2 cents.

  14. jfd117 says: Dec 22, 2011 7:36 PM

    @stanmark- the conglomerate that owns the hockey and basketball team was just sold for $1.5 billion (75%).

    Do you still think that nobody in Toronto would pay $1 billion for a franchise that is profitable before playing a game due to TV contacts? In a market with 6 million people? C’mon man!!

    No brainer…. Toronto Bills

  15. gmen1987 says: Dec 22, 2011 7:45 PM

    fitzmagic1212 says: Dec 22, 2011 5:37 PM

    ralph wilson you sir are truly a terrible human being. the fans here support your team like no other city would. you give us garbage and we pay you hard earned money for it. you will make a total of 2.5 million dollars more for each game there. is it really worth it to you? how about put a decent team on the field then people in buffalo would pay more for seats. 12 years of no playoffs..sell the team already

    ====================================
    How about the Bills fans pay the same amount for tickets as other NFL teams do rather than getting those per game welfare checks that the hard working property owners of Erie County are paying the Bills.

  16. gmen1987 says: Dec 22, 2011 8:04 PM

    The Buffalo Bills. The only part time NFL team.

  17. joetoronto says: Dec 22, 2011 8:10 PM

    trbowman says: Dec 22, 2011 5:21 PM

    Rogers Centre is such a dump
    *************************************************
    Compared to the Ralph, it’s a palace.

  18. bleed4philly says: Dec 22, 2011 9:06 PM

    The Sabres owner needs to step in and just but this team. Then model after the Broncos: Hire Jim Kelly as President, bring back the 4-3 Defense, and bring in a Tebow-like QB. At least you will make headlines, be competitive, and keep the team in Buffalo. Take advantage of the winter weather, hire a defensive minded guy. Dennis Allen is doing a great job in Denver. Being a small market team has limitations but they have to make the most of it, those fans deserve a franchise that cares.

  19. flbills says: Dec 22, 2011 9:06 PM

    @gmen1987:

    The Buffalo Bills. The only part time NFL team

    ———————————————————–And the Giants/Jests are fulltime Jersey…LOL

  20. nyyjetsknicks says: Dec 22, 2011 9:09 PM

    Wasn’t there a post that there are still 24,000 seats available a few days ago? Bills fans need to stop bitching and go to games or get used to the timeshare.

  21. mrpapadakos says: Dec 22, 2011 9:16 PM

    trbowman says: Dec 22, 2011 5:21 PM

    Rogers Centre is such a dump
    *************************************************
    Compared to the Ralph, it’s a palace.

    *************************************************

    Exactly.

  22. flbills says: Dec 22, 2011 9:21 PM

    Buffalo Bills the only TRUE NFL New York team.

  23. jacksonjames4 says: Dec 22, 2011 9:24 PM

    how about you concentrate on making a deal with a winnng team first

  24. jimmysee says: Dec 22, 2011 10:08 PM

    The Packers used to play three home games a year in Milwaukee — one exhibition, and two regular season games.

    Over the years, they played at State Fair Park, the old Borchert Field, the old Marquette Stadium, and Milwaukee County Stadium.

    I sold hot dogs at Packers games at County Stadium when I was in high school.

    Found I could never watch the game — my attention was always focused on the stands to see who wanted a hot dog!

    The team returned to Green Bay full time long before Miller Park was built.

    But Milwaukee season ticket holders still get seats to their “package” of games.

  25. stanmark says: Dec 22, 2011 10:25 PM

    @jfd117:
    I see your point, toronto is a huge market no doubt. however, much work has to be done before the nfl goes out of country.
    not to mention the rogers center cant hold an nfl team even on an interim basis. it flies now because its only one season game a year, but there is no way the league will approve 8 home games, with a 53k seating cap. its actually not even allowed. so for a team to land in toronto, they will have to foot the bill for a stadium, which will only happen after they purchase a team.
    ive heard all the rumors of the big toronto money, but no names have come forward. not even one. add to this, the old guard of the toronto blue jays are incredibly skeptical that the nfl would even work in the toronto market.

  26. pigeonpea says: Dec 22, 2011 10:43 PM

    Why would anyone in their right mind pay $180 a seat to see the Bills play in the Rogers Center when they could drive 2 hours south of here and watch them in Ralph Wilson for half that, while enjoying a tailgate party and the full NFL experience?

    Toronto sports events are a joke.

    This is the direct result of a fanbase that will willingly pay in excess of $200 a seat to watch a pathetic hockey franchise that hasn’t won a damned thing since 1967.

  27. 730boy says: Dec 22, 2011 10:49 PM

    I live in Toronto we dont want the bills here stay in Buffalo.. it will never work.. people in Toronto already have their teams that we root for not everybody in toronto goes for the bills i for one am a titans fan i dont even want the bills to come here not the same atmosphere, the tail gate doesnt compare i was in buffalo 2 weeks ago to watch titans vs the bills and buffalo games in buffalo are way better than when they come here. When the bills come and say they face pittsburgh, cowboys etc it wont feel like a home game. Im a titans fan for life i will never root for the bills DONT COME TO TORONTO WE DONT WANT IT HERE. plus we will probably lose our proline if we get an NFL team thats enough to make fans not want the bills here lol

  28. tilllman40 says: Dec 22, 2011 10:54 PM

    @joetoronto um no? It’s extra revenue that’s all , we r a small market team, nothing more nothing less, besides shouldn’t u be commenting on hockey stories ? Eh

  29. buffalodiehard says: Dec 23, 2011 1:31 AM

    730boy says:
    Dec 22, 2011 10:49 PM

    “people in Toronto already have their teams that we root for not everybody in toronto goes for the bills i for one am a titans fan i dont even want the bills to come here not the same atmosphere, the tail gate doesnt compare i was in buffalo 2 weeks ago to watch titans vs the bills and buffalo games in buffalo are way better than when they come here.”
    ————————————————–
    Duly noted, sir. And what is the opinion of the non-booger eaters in Toronto?

  30. sb139422 says: Dec 23, 2011 3:02 AM

    @trbowman, To the fan that said “rogers centre is such a dump”, have you been in Ralph Wilson lately?!?!

  31. borisbulldog says: Dec 23, 2011 6:12 AM

    Will the Bill’s ever break .500?

  32. borisbulldog says: Dec 23, 2011 6:17 AM

    @73oboy

    “I live in Toronto we dont want the bills here stay in Buffalo”

    Don’t worry, with the waste land of sports Canada is why would any American team want to come there, aye?

    No seriously, stick to your Molson and back bacon and come to America when you want to get cheap electronics!

  33. jacksonjames4 says: Dec 23, 2011 7:39 AM

    hey 730′boy’ .. have you ever thought that maybe Toronto doesn’t want someone who doesn’t know how to use punctuation?

  34. EJ says: Dec 23, 2011 8:16 AM

    gmen1987 says:
    Dec 22, 2011 7:45 PM
    fitzmagic1212 says: Dec 22, 2011 5:37 PM

    ralph wilson you sir are truly a terrible human being. the fans here support your team like no other city would. you give us garbage and we pay you hard earned money for it. you will make a total of 2.5 million dollars more for each game there. is it really worth it to you? how about put a decent team on the field then people in buffalo would pay more for seats. 12 years of no playoffs..sell the team already

    ====================================
    How about the Bills fans pay the same amount for tickets as other NFL teams do rather than getting those per game welfare checks that the hard working property owners of Erie County are paying the Bills

    When Buffalo gets a shiny new stadium we will be paying league average. Right now the ticket prices are based on what was originally given to those hard working property owners back in August of 1973. Your New Jersey based team needs to remove New York from their name. The Buffalo Bills are the only true New Yorkers.

  35. stanmark says: Dec 23, 2011 8:27 AM

    Support from the Governor
    +
    Support from Chuck Schumer
    +
    Rogers Center under the NFL Min. seat capacity
    +
    New Lease with Erie County
    +
    New Renovated Stadium
    +
    New Contract with Rogers Center
    =
    Bills stay in Buffalo

    Any questions?

  36. joetoronto says: Dec 23, 2011 8:39 AM

    The ignorance here is astounding.

    Everybody is taking this personally, but it’s just business in the real world.

    There’s lot’s of money here, tons of it, and like it or not, Buffalo is a depressed city with no money.

    You can figure out the rest, hopefully.

  37. cowboyscanada says: Dec 23, 2011 8:58 AM

    Toronto should focus on supporting the Argos.

  38. rajbais says: Dec 23, 2011 9:50 AM

    Toronto = nice city, but a waste of the Bills time!!!

  39. stanmark says: Dec 23, 2011 10:06 AM

    bring some facts joetoronto

  40. redripper says: Dec 23, 2011 2:43 PM

    The nfl wants a team outside the country so moving the bills up there makes since. Toronto already has teams in the nba & mlb. So why not the nfl?

  41. dtjano says: Dec 23, 2011 10:02 PM

    It’s a cash grab for an out of touch owner. It makes the Bills more profitable. If Ralph actually spent money on the product I think more Bills fans from Buffalo would make the trip up to Toronto for the game.

  42. kingcasper says: Dec 24, 2011 7:04 AM

    Ralph Wilson will probably die by the end of the year, so none of this matters. The Bills will sell for probably 800 million to 1 billion dollars and no one in their right mind would keep them in Buffalo. Potential owners would have to want to make back on their investment with luxury boxes etc. and there are no big companies in Buffalo. To make money on that investment it would take like 40 years in Buffalo. People say Pegula would buy them, but he will not. He is a smart business man and realizes that it would be a bad investment. He can afford to lose money on the Sabres (and he does) but not on the Bills. In LA it would take probably 5-10 years to make back the initial invest ment compared to 40 in Buffalo. I’m a Bills fan, but the writing is on the wall and the show is about to end…..

  43. dtjano says: Dec 24, 2011 10:00 AM

    That would make sense if the Bills weren’t one of the 10 most profitable teams.

  44. stanmark says: Dec 25, 2011 8:47 AM

    kingcasper, there goes the non sense again. wrong about the price of the team(even IF it goes to auction, nobody sees that happening) Yes, I know this is the DEFAULT process if Ralph keels over with no plan- but it’s nearly impossible that a guy like him would let that happen (and he is not required to disclose a succession plan to the general public, deal with it) Stadium upgrades ARE coming, with or without all the requested the state $.
    Everyone knows Pegula can’t buy the team anyways because of the NFL owners regulations. (He already owns a Pro team in the proximity). The Sabres are not losing money, (not sure where you pulled that one from). kingcasper, its time you stop trying to recycle what other posters say and actually do some reading- i would love to post articles for you to check out but that is no longer allowed.
    Here are a few inarguables-
    The Bills have the support of the Gov’s office, US Senators, State House, State Senate, and County, AND most importantly- Goodell is on record stating he wants the Bills in Buffalo.
    Lease talks are underway and look promising.
    Lease talks are underway and look promising for the Toronto series.
    Stadium renovations will happen. WILL happen.
    The Rams, Chargers, Vikings, Jags, and Raiders are ALL leaps and bounds more likely (by ALL means) to jump to LA, Buffalo is not on that list.
    Merry Christmas, you get the Bills for 5-10 more years guaranteed.

  45. dtjano says: Dec 25, 2011 8:55 AM

    Terry Pegula can buy the team. Jacobs the owner of the Bruins wouldnt be able to.

  46. stanmark says: Dec 25, 2011 10:28 PM

    i read an article in the examiner that looked at the nfl rules, stating that they didnt allow an nfl owner to own another team in the same market, unless it was an arena league team. there’s a huge to-do about this on buffalorumblings…

  47. dtjano says: Dec 26, 2011 9:17 AM

    Can’t own an NFL team and another pro sports team in another region. Pegula owns the Sabres would be able to buy the Bills. Jacobs own the Bruins couldn’t. Most links I saw on this are old. Best example would be when Huizenga owned the Dolphins, Marlins, and Panthers.

  48. stanmark says: Dec 30, 2011 9:17 AM

    yep you are right, just read an article in the buffalo sports daily that explained it. i was sold on Pegula’s reaction to questions on the purchase, but its doubtful that we would get hints of anything from Pegula directly as long as Wilson is still around. I’m sure him speaking publicly about any developing situation would be construed as underhanded.

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