Some folks in Buffalo would point gleefully to the inability of Toronto to sell tickets to Bills games. Some folks in Toronto would point gleefully to the inability of Buffalo to sell tickets to Bills game.
Some folks in L.A. would point gleefully to both.
In the wake of the worst Toronto turnout for a regular-season Bills game, CEO Russ Brandon said during his weekly appearance on WGR radio that more than 20,000 tickets remain for the team’s next and final home game of the season.
Brandon added that, of seven home games played this season in Buffalo, only two have been true sell outs, via Mike Rodak of ESPN.com.
The remarks come a week after Brandon bristled at reports/rumors that Jon Bon Jovi wants to buy the team. Brandon insisted that the team isn’t for sale. But it will be for sale after 95-year-old owner Ralph Wilson’s tenure ends.
The question that looms over the future of the franchise is whether the Wilson family would sell the team to local interests who value the club based on its revenue potential in Western New York — or whether the Wilson family would accept a presumably higher offer from those who would move the team to a place where it could make more money, by consistently selling more tickets.
By playing one game per year in Toronto, Wilson hoped to create a regional footprint, which would make the team more valuable and viable in Buffalo. If the Canadian experiment ultimately fails (and Brandon said the arrangement will be reviewed in the offseason), the next question becomes whether less cash would be accepted in order to keep the team in a place where, over the long haul, less cash will be generated.
And while the team’s new lease contains a $400 million buyout during each of the first seven years, the lease can be canceled after the 2019 season for payment of only $28 million.Which means that the next owner could escape for Los Angeles or London or anywhere else in only six years.