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Bills could have a hard time getting out of Toronto

Toronto AP

On Wednesday, Bills CEO Russ Brandon cast doubt on the continuation of the team’s Toronto experiment.  But if Brandon and the Bills want to pull the plug on their annual home-away-from-home game, it may not be quite so easy.

John Kryk of the Toronto Sun explains that, if the Bills want out, the powers-that-be in Toronto will have to agree.  Otherwise, as Kryk reports, “it’s ironclad.”

It’s hard for Brandon or the Bills to complain about the arrangement.  In January 2013, Brandon and the Bills chose to renew it for five years — not long after only 40,000 showed up to watch the Seahawks slam the Bills, 50-17.

That makes it much harder for Brandon to act surprised about this year’s crowd, or result.  Giving up a December home game in the Buffalo elements for a dome game in Toronto necessarily sacrifices a large chunk of the home-field advantage, and players already were grumbling about the situation even before the team decided to renew the series for five more years.

“Brandon said there was never any thought the agreement wouldn’t be renewed,” Bob Mitchell of the Toronto Star wrote earlier this year, when the Bills made a fresh five-year commitment to Canada.

At a time when folks in Buffalo already are nervous about the future of the franchise in Buffalo, a decision by the Bills to renege on a fairly recent contract could serve to make folks in Buffalo even more nervous.

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43 Responses to “Bills could have a hard time getting out of Toronto”
  1. lonespeed says: Dec 5, 2013 8:30 AM

    If you win, people will come and the problem will go-away.

  2. wheels579 says: Dec 5, 2013 8:36 AM

    Welcome to the future of NFL in Europe. Nobody cares about this sport enough besides Americans. Canada has their own league and they still don’t care enough to sell out one NFL game. But keep pushing the manifest destiny agenda…

  3. gavriloprincip33 says: Dec 5, 2013 8:37 AM

    Neither place is a football town since the Bills had their run with Marv Levy et al…

  4. primenumber19 says: Dec 5, 2013 8:38 AM

    Maybe Toronto stayed away from the game because rob ford was there.

  5. henryjones20 says: Dec 5, 2013 8:40 AM

    I heard Mr.kahn is looking for a new city.he would take a crowd of 40, 000 in a heartbeat.

  6. dspyank2k11 says: Dec 5, 2013 8:43 AM

    Whether its Toronto or LA both places would be awful for any NFL franchise.

    The fanbase is luke warm at best in Toronto and in LA, well, they had their chance more times than they deserved.

  7. jgedgar70 says: Dec 5, 2013 8:44 AM

    What, did they sign the extension during a party at the Mayor’s house and now they don’t remember signing it?

  8. steelersaregodsteam says: Dec 5, 2013 8:47 AM

    LOL

  9. gadzod says: Dec 5, 2013 8:53 AM

    If only he would actually listen to his season ticket holders in the first place, this would have never happened. If you want to give Toronto Bills games, then treat your season ticket holders with not having to play full price for Preseason games. Leave the regular season games where it should be, at the Ralph.

  10. bucsfan21 says: Dec 5, 2013 8:53 AM

    I think this would make the Buffalo fans feel good. Bringing back a home game to Buffalo is hardly a bad thing if you’re worried about your team leaving. The NFL should look at this when they think about moving and or expanding to Europe. It hasn’t worked just across the border, what makes you think it will work in Europe?

  11. pastabelly says: Dec 5, 2013 8:55 AM

    This franchise is the most obvious LA candidate. Someone is going to make a lot of money by moving this mess out to LA.

  12. someoneimportant says: Dec 5, 2013 8:57 AM

    So what you’re saying is: More good news for Bills’ fans!

  13. hollymeus says: Dec 5, 2013 9:10 AM

    nfl must be america’s game

  14. all4patriots says: Dec 5, 2013 10:08 AM

    Play a Bills-Patriots game there.

    NE fans will fill up the place!

  15. crik911 says: Dec 5, 2013 10:20 AM

    These are the #’s for attendance at the Toronto Series.

    2008 Dolphins (52,134)
    2009 Jets (51,567)
    2010 Bears ( 50,746) <- Attended this game
    2011 Redskins (51,579)
    2012 Seahawks (40,770)
    2013 Falcons (<40,000)

    As I recall only one of these teams finished above .500% Winning percentage.

    Hard to sell out with losers.

  16. raiderseliminatedfromplayoffsalready says: Dec 5, 2013 10:26 AM

    At least JoeToronto got to see what real NFL Teams look like instead of fantasizing about one 3,000 miles away and in another country. Go Argonauts!

  17. wisconsinhillfolk says: Dec 5, 2013 10:36 AM

    The mayor of the most populous and prominent city in all of Canadia smokes crack.

  18. dirtydrew says: Dec 5, 2013 10:51 AM

    I would not worry Buffalo. No one wants the Bills. And the NFL won’t let them move to LA with ownership in flux.

  19. pftfan says: Dec 5, 2013 1:02 PM

    LOL, don’t Buffalo fans love reminding us that they are the REAL New York team and that the “Jersey Jets” and “Jersey Giants” are not the New York teams?

    I’m surprised REAL New Yorkers aren’t making the 400 mile trip from NYC to Buffalo to support “their” team!

  20. duffsbeer says: Dec 5, 2013 1:02 PM

    so the Bills average 65,000 at Buffalo home games with an average ticket price of $58 according to Forbes.com. The average ticket price for the game in Toronto was $99 with an average of 46,000 attendance.
    So the revenue from the average bills home game is $37,700,000 while the revenue from the toronto home game was $45,400,000. I can’t tell if there are major operating cost differences between the two stadiums but if you assume that they are pretty close then you can see why the CEO would sign an additional 5 year contract to keep this going, it’s a extra $35-40 million to the Bills organization. Even with the 40,000 attendance it still $39,600,000 which is $2 million more revenue then if they hosted it in Buffalo.

  21. sds7777 says: Dec 5, 2013 1:26 PM

    To the guy who thinks Canadians don’t care about nfl you have no clue. How many Canadians go across the boarder for every bills home game. > 10k. The resos it’s a flop in toronto is the stupid tailgating laws ontario has and the high prices toronto charges. Let’s face it nfl Sunday games are about the whole experience not just the game

  22. drsummeroff says: Dec 5, 2013 1:42 PM

    I refute the argument that it’s hard to sell out with losers in Toronto. I give you exhibit A: The Toronto Maple Leafs. Proof Positive the people of Toronto will support a losing franchise if they are properly motivated.

  23. Dogsweat says: Dec 5, 2013 1:42 PM

    L.A. Doesn’t want the Bills, that would be an insult. The only teams that will work is the Rams and Raiders.

    If any team is going to come out of the AFC East that L.A. would embrace– would be the Dolphins.

    The Dolphins have a strong fan base in all of California.

    Bills should move to Toronto, which is a great sports town.

  24. xbot5000 says: Dec 5, 2013 1:44 PM

    I think it’s awesome that duffsbeer thinks the Bills make 38 million a game. What’s even better is that 5 people gave him a thumbs up.

    Calculators are great, especially for posting

  25. EJ says: Dec 5, 2013 1:44 PM

    pftfan says:
    Dec 5, 2013 1:02 PM

    LOL, don’t Buffalo fans love reminding us that they are the REAL New York team and that the “Jersey Jets” and “Jersey Giants” are not the New York teams?

    I’m surprised REAL New Yorkers aren’t making the 400 mile trip from NYC to Buffalo to support “their” team!
    ———————————————————-

    Truth be told, Buffalo IS the only NYS team. If the New York Giants and New York Jets would change their names to coincide with where each team plays, then more New York City residents might start making the 360.8 mile trip to Orchard Park, NY. Believe it or not, a lot of New Yorkers are true to their home state and tend to root for the “Hometown” team. The NFL would never do that though… The Jets and Giants would start to lose a big chunk of their fan base and sellouts would be very hard to come by.

  26. bslo says: Dec 5, 2013 2:04 PM

    There are a few reasons this Toronto series doesn’t work:

    1) Overpriced Tickets (even after all of the price drops)
    2) No tailgating
    3) The game is in a baseball stadium
    4) The Bills have been a bad team for about 15 years
    5) The fans at Toronto sporting events (aside from the soccer team) are generally corporate hacks who spend the whole game on their phones or at the bar before leaving halfway through, so the stadium is almost never lively.

    As someone who lives about an hour west of Toronto, I could drive an extra 45-60 minutes to Buffalo for cheaper tickets, real fans and actual tailgating. Sounds like an easy decision to me!

  27. nflfan1326 says: Dec 5, 2013 2:04 PM

    @duffsbeer
    You put an extra zero in those calculations. Futhermore, you can only use the avg ticket price if all tickets are sold. The higher priced tickets are usually the last to be sold, so no one really knows what the revenue was if it wasn’t a true sellout.

  28. nflfan1326 says: Dec 5, 2013 2:06 PM

    @all4patriots
    Patriots couldn’t fill 60k seat Shaffer Stadium. Do you even know what Shaffer Stadium was?

  29. liontuss says: Dec 5, 2013 2:12 PM

    From Windsor, across the river from Detroit. If we had easier access to tickets you could count on 15 thou Canadians at the game from Canada. We love NFL football here. I don’t even know or care who won the Grey Cup. Go Lions!

  30. mayorrobford says: Dec 5, 2013 2:19 PM

    There are a few reasons this Toronto series doesn’t work:

    1) Overpriced Tickets (even after all of the price drops)
    2) No tailgating
    3) The game is in a baseball stadium
    4) The Bills have been a bad team for about 15 years
    5) The fans at Toronto sporting events (aside from the soccer team) are generally corporate hacks who spend the whole game on their phones or at the bar before leaving halfway through, so the stadium is almost never lively.

    As someone who lives about an hour west of Toronto, I could drive an extra 45-60 minutes to Buffalo for cheaper tickets, real fans and actual tailgating. Sounds like an easy decision to me!

    Winner^

  31. iloveagoodnap says: Dec 5, 2013 2:38 PM

    EJ says:
    Dec 5, 2013 1:44 PM
    pftfan says:
    Dec 5, 2013 1:02 PM

    LOL, don’t Buffalo fans love reminding us that they are the REAL New York team and that the “Jersey Jets” and “Jersey Giants” are not the New York teams?

    I’m surprised REAL New Yorkers aren’t making the 400 mile trip from NYC to Buffalo to support “their” team!
    ———————————————————-

    Truth be told, Buffalo IS the only NYS team. If the New York Giants and New York Jets would change their names to coincide with where each team plays, then more New York City residents might start making the 360.8 mile trip to Orchard Park, NY. Believe it or not, a lot of New Yorkers are true to their home state and tend to root for the “Hometown” team. The NFL would never do that though… The Jets and Giants would start to lose a big chunk of their fan base and sellouts would be very hard to come by.

    …………………….
    I’m a Cowboys fan with a soft spot for the Bills based on connections I have in the Buffalo area. It’s a great town, great fans, I really like it there.

    But you’re way off base. That’s flat out not even close to being true. If the Jets and Giants changed their name to incorporate NJ, I highly doubt anyone who is a fan of either team would convert. Just sayin.

  32. NoHomeTeam says: Dec 5, 2013 2:51 PM

    Dogsweat says: L.A. Doesn’t want the Bills, that would be an insult. The only teams that will work is the Rams and Raiders. . . If any team is going to come out of the AFC East that L.A. would embrace– would be the Dolphins . . . The Dolphins have a strong fan base in all of California.

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

    I can’t tell if you’re trolling or not, honestly.

    I’ll second the thought that we don’t want to take Buffalo’s team, but . . . the Dolphins? I’m not sure where you’re getting the idea that there is any kind of fan base or following for the Dolphins here. Maybe there’s a Dolphins-centric sports bar where you live and that’s skewing your perceptions?

  33. iloveagoodnap says: Dec 5, 2013 3:00 PM

    Dogsweat says:
    Dec 5, 2013 1:42 PM
    L.A. Doesn’t want the Bills, that would be an insult. The only teams that will work is the Rams and Raiders.

    If any team is going to come out of the AFC East that L.A. would embrace– would be the Dolphins.

    The Dolphins have a strong fan base in all of California.

    Bills should move to Toronto, which is a great sports town.
    ………………………………
    Laughable.

    1) How are the Bills any more of an insult than the Raiders (again) or the Rams? In the last decade, since 2004, the Bills are the only one of the 3 to have a winning season. Each have been equally as pathetica as the other in that time in terms of both performance and front office.

    2) Toronto is not a great sports town. If you don’t believe me, look no further than the fact you can purchase a ticket for a Blue Jays game in the field level for $50 the day before a game. Not to mention when you get there, it’s so quiet you’d think you were at the Masters.

    3) Dolphins fans are just as big a joke as Toronto. There were countless empty seats for a home prime time game against a superbowl contender when the Bengals came to town.

    4) It’s common knowledge that LA is a terrible sports town. It’s why 2 NFL teams have failed and why many think trying a 3rd time is a bad idea. LA fans need their team to be on the cusp of a championship to care. The atmosphere at Laker games, considering their status in NBA history, is pathetic.

  34. misteranderson41 says: Dec 5, 2013 3:57 PM

    so the rogers center ‘sells out’ with a 40k crowd and thats enough to prevent a tv blackout? the nfl broadcast rules are ridiculous….like why can’t i stream an in game radio play by play broadcast on my phone or tablet but i can on a desktop…or the bills sell 70k seats and have a tv blackout, while the raiders sell 65k and thats a sellout and no tv blackout

  35. Gdelarocks says: Dec 5, 2013 4:14 PM

    Dogsweat says:
    Dec 5, 2013 1:42 PM
    L.A. Doesn’t want the Bills, that would be an insult. The only teams that will work is the Rams and Raiders.

    If any team is going to come out of the AFC East that L.A. would embrace– would be the Dolphins.

    The Dolphins have a strong fan base in all of California.

    Bills should move to Toronto, which is a great sports town
    ……………………..
    So a city who doesnt have a team, and cries about how they want one, and who has already run two teams out of town all of a sudden would be too good for the Bills?

    Yeah, that makes a lot of sense.

  36. Dogsweat says: Dec 5, 2013 4:23 PM

    I love it when people post out of jealously. The two posters above probably live in the middle of the country and are pissed that they have to shovel snow and those out West don’t, so they make ignorant and snide remarks.

    I grew up in California, did you? The Dodgers and the Angels both draw 2.5 to 3 million on a constant basis, and the Angels suck. The Lakers always draw, and because 500 people decided to go party or find something else to do in beautiful weather- instead of watching the Pelicans play the Lakers this season , it made headline news. And of course Laker fans are bad. You forget Laker tickets are not cheap.

    Of course the Clippers who have done nothing, have a tremendous following that is very loyal and sells out. Shall I go on?

    College Football does well. Remember this is Southern California, where there are 100 million things to do, and the weather doesn’t oppress us.

    Since you like to use words like “TROLL” when you inner Tyrant comes out, because you don’t agree or have no knowledge of the subject, I will comment on the football situation.

    L.A. Doesn’t bow down to the NFL like most American cities. It would be cool to have the NFL but it is not needed. We have other sports and once again, we have 100 million things to do on any given day.

    The Raiders and Rams have the strongest following via gear sales, and TV Ratings, they still show the Raiders and they have a bigger following than the Rams, although the Rams have a strong one too.

    You never been to L.A. Colisuem , when the Raiders played there? Where the L.A. PD( Not Rent a Cops) would have to sit in the stands during games, where there is very little parking for 100 k venue, so you have to park in the local hood, which is where many Gangs were born, add Riots that have happened close by as well, so it got a little annoying to go to a Raider Game and come back to find your car gone or stripped by the locals, and the fans at the game would beat or stab opposing fans. And you will get jacked( as they say)

    It gets old and people stopped going and attendance sunk. The owner at the time was promised a new venue in Hollywood Park, which is away from the so called “Panic Zone!” Plus there would more than 10 spots to park at.

    But this never happened. And the owner of the Raiders played the” I’m sorry card” and moved his team back up North. He never would of moved the Raiders out of L.A. if he got his new venue. He even had a interview years ago, that he is still willing to listen to any L.A. offer, this was recorded.

    If the Raiders came back to L.A.( Win or Lose) they would pack a new venue.

    The Rams blew it when they went to the OC, they lost half their fan base in L.A. County.

    If you know anything about these two counties, they hate each other. And they are two different worlds.

    Angel fans are still fighting the “Los Angeles” name. Orange County wants nothing to do with anything in L.A. or around. Plus the Rams owner ran the team into the ground(on purpose) , knowing she wanted to move. Traded star players and making sure the Rams would suck, so no one would go to the games giving her leverage to move.

    It’s an old trick used by owners.

    The Rams are looking to return, and they will be in L.A. county where their true fans reside and they will have a new owner who put the best on the field. They will be supported if they return to L.A. County.

    As far as the Bills comments, nobody wants or would support this failure of a franchise. My comment was if any team was going to move to L.A. from the AFC East, the Dolphins would be the best for the region. And yes, there are several Dolphin fan bases in California, up North too, tat would support this team, along with others.

    The don’t have a strong following like the Raiders and Rams, but it is a lot stronger than the Bills. So stick with the Toronto move.

    Once Toronto knows the Bills are theirs, they will support the team and pack the stadium. Nobody wants to pay money for a rented NFL team.

  37. multiplemiggs says: Dec 5, 2013 7:22 PM

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA Boy I Love Losing Superbowls.

  38. cjspiller12 says: Dec 5, 2013 7:35 PM

    Dogsweat says:
    Dec 5, 2013 4:23 PM
    I love it when people post out of jealously. The two posters above probably live in the middle of the country and are pissed that they have to shovel snow and those out West don’t, so they make ignorant and snide remarks.
    __________________________________
    Out of jealously? Dude, every comment you made on here about this post is just plain HOGWASH!!! You don’t know anything about the Buffalo Bills or Toronto. And as far as football in LA……..you already lost football there, not once, but twice. People don’t care.

  39. kwickett85 says: Dec 6, 2013 12:21 AM

    “This franchise is the most obvious LA candidate. Someone is going to make a lot of money by moving this mess out to LA.”

    Well they’re going to need a lot of money to make something like that happen.

    $1 billion to buy the team
    $1 billion for a new stadium
    $400 million in moving fees
    $400 million to Erie County for breaking the lease

    $2.8 billion

    The team isn’t going anywhere. Not to mention they’re doing $130 million in renovations this off-season.

  40. iloveagoodnap says: Dec 6, 2013 8:38 AM

    @dogsweat

    Your far too lengthy response did nothing to support your argument, in fact, you probably made more points that proved my argument right.

    1) You say “LA doesnt bow down to the NFL and it would be cool but doesnt matter that much”. That statemement just lost your argument right there. That epitomizes the attitude of a mediocre, fairweatherd sports town who is not deserving of a 3rd chance at a franchise. I like how you try to throw in college football into the mix haha college football is liked anywhere theres a campus with a team, get out of here with that. ANd baseball….they draw 2.5-3 million what? People per year? Thats an average of 37K per game. That’s terrible for baseball! You also prove my point too by saying that the Angels draw crowds “even though they suck”. The angels last won their division in 2009- you counting that as a team in a rut proves once again the fairweather nature of LA as a sports town.

    2) You totally miss the point. If a new owner were to take over the Buffalo Bills or any other franchise and look to move them, key word is new owner. New owner would likely mean new everything- probaby even new name. It would be like the team they bought is a thing of the past, including whatever failures and glories they might have. And whatever regional support they might have had prior to the change is moot, because, they are a brand new franchise essentially drawing to draw unconditional rabit support from their new market. So again I say to you, based on your above statement, you think LA deserves a franchise? Youre concerned about who supports the potential moves now, and that’s a joke, because that’s not hwo it goes.

    3) I have spent plenty of time in Southern Cal, and I hate it. I also happen to love snow, I love to ski, and have no problem shoveling my driveway. And for the record the city I live in doesnt have “rentacops” as you put it patrolling my streets. Believe it or not the LAPD isnt the only police force in America.

    The fact is you are stuck with your head in the clouds, with a typical elitist LA attitude, thinking you know everything when the fact is you know not one thing about the rest of the country you speak of.

  41. Gdelarocks says: Dec 6, 2013 8:52 AM

    Dogsweat says:
    Dec 5, 2013 4:23 PM

    I grew up in California, did you? The Dodgers and the Angels both draw 2.5 to 3 million on a constant basis, and the Angels suck. The Lakers always draw, and because 500 people decided to go party or find something else to do in beautiful weather- instead of watching the Pelicans play the Lakers this season , it made headline news. And of course Laker fans are bad. You forget Laker tickets are not cheap.

    L.A. Doesn’t bow down to the NFL like most American cities. It would be cool to have the NFL but it is not needed. We have other sports and once again, we have 100 million things to do on any given day.

    ……………………..
    These 2 little blurbs just makes everyoe else’s point for them.

    -The Angels made the playoffs in 2009. I would hardly call that a team who sucks
    -Laker tickets arent cheap- neither are NFL tickets and it takes almost 4 times as many people to fill an NFL stadium
    -2.5- 3 mil tickets per baseball season is 31k-37 people per game. That’s extremely unimpressive for basbeall. Teams like Cleveland, who truly are bad, sell out all the time. Teams like Boston, Yankees & Mets (also bad) who also play in cities with tons to do, consistently sell out as well.
    -Continoulsly bringing up how LA has better things to do than sports doesnt help your argument for LA as a sports town it hurts it. No one is saying LA is a boring place, no one is saying theres not a lot to do there. We all know there is a lot to do in LA. But it’s not a sports town.

  42. Gdelarocks says: Dec 6, 2013 9:00 AM

    Oh and for the record, I love snow and I snowboard. If I wanted to live somewhere without snow, I wouldnt be jealous, I would just mvoe to a place where there isnt snow, because I’m an adult.

  43. keepyerstickontheice says: Dec 7, 2013 9:13 AM

    Crack-smoking Mayor Rob Ford in a Fred Jackson jersey posing for pictures with some Hell’s Angels at the game.

    This is the best thing ever.

    This is how I know the Bills will never leave Buffalo.

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