Rob Ford will need to find another reason to eat chicken wings in public.
The Bills and Rogers Media have issued a joint statement announcing that the annual Toronto series has been postponed for a year.
“The Buffalo Bills and Rogers are committed to delivering a first-class NFL experience to Canadians,” Bills CEO Russ Brandon and Rogers Media president Keith Pelley said, perhaps simultaneously. “As such, we have postponed for one year the scheduled 2014 regular season game at Rogers Centre in Toronto, and that game will return to Ralph Wilson Stadium. We will use this time to collectively evaluate opportunities and build on the foundation to enhance future games.
“We are committed to continuing our partnership and have secured a robust sponsorship agreement for the 2014 season that will bring Canadian NFL fans visibility and access to the Bills. The sponsorship includes ticketing, merchandising, media exposure, and a newly created Canada House, near Ralph Wilson Stadium, that will serve as the official pre-game Canadian tailgate zone for all Bills home games.”
So, basically, the Bills have moved their annual Toronto game from Toronto to . . . Buffalo.
The move comes only one year after the Bills renewed their agreement to play in Toronto, a decision that came after only 40,000 showed up to watch the Seahawks blast the Bills, 50-17, during the 2012 edition of the game. The 2013 crowd was even smaller, prompting the team’s desire to stop playing there, at least for now.
The Toronto experiment can’t yet be deemed a failure, but it’s getting very close. If/when the plug is pulled, the Bills will take one step far closer toward leaving Buffalo.
While fans didn’t like the effort to create a regional footprint for the team, owner Ralph Wilson realized that expanding the fan base would be the best way to keep the team in Buffalo. If that doesn’t work, there’s little chance that the highest bidder for the Bills, which will be sold after the 95-year-old owner passes, will be able to keep the team in Buffalo.