Bills could see expanded slate in Toronto

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As the Bills find themselves applying a Band-Aid to their lame-duck lease at Ralph Wilson Stadium, the Bills could be expanding their presence in their home away from home.

Mark Gaughan of the Buffalo News believes that the Bills will play more games in Toronto in the coming years.

The five-year arrangement in Toronto expires after this season.  After playing one regular-season game per year there for the past five years, Gaughan thinks the number could grow to eight over the next five, with a 2-1-2-1-2 format taking hold.

Bills fans won’t like it, but it’s a far better outcome than the Bills moving away entirely.  And that’s the ongoing value of regionalizing the team.  After team founder Ralph Wilson passes (he’ll be 94 next month), the franchise will be sold.  And the new owner will need to be able to crunch the numbers in a way that makes staying put make sense.

If the Bills can parlay eight games over five years in Toronto into the kind of revenue that tips the scales toward not moving to L.A. or London or elsewhere, losing a few more games to Canada is better than losing all of them.

22 responses to “Bills could see expanded slate in Toronto

  1. Why would the Bills play in Toronto. they got 70K in Ralph Wilson Stadium yesterday and barely get 50K in Toronto. The newness of playing in the Rogers Centre has worn off. Stay in Buffalo. Contrary to NFL ivory tower belief, fans like NFL as an American sport.

  2. “Bills fans won’t like it, but it’s a far better outcome than the Bills moving away entirely.”

    This is what allot of Bills fans don’t understand. We’re an hour away, we’re not on the west coast.

    But L.A. is.

    nflfan1326: You know as well as I do that of those 70K at the Ralph, 20K or so were from Canada.

    If they didn’t charge 300-500 dollars per ticket here, you see one hell of a difference.

    How many fans would show up at the Ralph if tickets were 300-500 dollars a piece?

  3. The shared NFL TV Revenue pays the entire team salry. The Bills sell out every game. I think this is an example of being greedy. The ownership in Buffalo sees an oppertunity to make 100 million a year instead of 50 million and they are gonna take advantage of it. They don’t care about fans in Buffalo. They care about the bottom line. Not much different from most businesses, but I for one hope it comes back to bite them in the ass.

  4. Whether there’s 70k or 50k doesn’t matter. The Bills cash over playing in Toronto is guaranteed no matter how many people show up. I’m all for whatever the team wants to do in order to keep them the BUFFALO BILLS. They’ll no doubt be paid a kings ransom for 8 games over 5 years, and hey maybe that money helps build a new retractable roof stadium downtown? This deal is very important towards making sure the Bills never leave, something I’m more than ok with.

  5. Believe it or not, there are groups from Western New York that do have the money to buy the team.

    You could even operate the team at a yearly loss and be successful. The new owner may pay around $800 million for the team, but the value of the teams in the NFL are virtually always on the upswing.

    So you would still be profitable even if you lost a few million every year because the value of the team would be increasing.

    If a new ownership group from Western NY takes over the Bills when Ralph passes on, mark my words, they will not play another game in Toronto.

    Its a competitive disadvantage, and thats all that matters.

  6. Build a retractable roof stadium in Niagara Falls. Halfway-ish between Toronto and Buffalo. Plus a SB in Niagara Falls would be neat backdrop. Just a thought.

  7. As a Canadian, I would much rather drive down to the Ralph to watch a game than I would pay $300 to see a game played in the Rogers Centre. But hey, business is business!

  8. Anytime a fan needs a passport to watch their HOME team play, that’s not a good thing. Leave Canada out of this!!!

  9. Can you imagine if Terry Pagula of the Buffalo Sabres were sending away games to another city just to make a little extra money? NO

    Because if he needs more money, he drills another gas well – Hes not an owner of a pro sports team for the money, he just wants to win.

    Thats what the Bills need. Toronto road games need to stop.

  10. I live in dtown Toronto. 5 min walk from Rogers Centre. I still go to the Ralph and will always prefer it. It’s our stadium. All true Bills fans in Toronto prefer going to the Ralph. Rogers Centre sucks. No tailgate and most importantly no atmosphere. Come on Jim,just buy the team and keep it where it should be…BUFFALO.

  11. as someone that just saw an argos came in rogers center two weeks ago, i can promise you ralph wilson stadium is a far better venue on many fronts.

    i’m not sure why the bills are interested in expanding this arrangement when most real fans in toronto won’t see a game at the rogers center.

    the stadium was built with baseball in mind first, it’s a horrible stadium to watch football in particularly if you’re over 5’9.

  12. @joetoronto Must have been a heck of a backup at the border. When you charge $300-$500 per ticket, you have lost home field advantage, you have lost the blue collar die hard types.

  13. I prefer the atmosphere at the Ralph as well but face it the Bills rely on Southern Ontario for the survival of their franchise. I refuse to go to anymore games because of the logistical nightmares of getting from the stadium back to Canada.

  14. Seeing this as a better outcome than the team moving is a loser mentality. If your wife or girlfriend said she was going to sleep with other guys a couple nights a week while insisting it is what’s best for the relationship and it is better than nothing people would think you are nuts. I’ve been a season ticket holder since I got my first job when I was 16 but I cannot continue as a fan if the snakes at One Bills drive continue to take games away and claim that it’s best for the team. What’s best for the team is winning, yet I haven’t seen much of that in the past 15 years.

  15. As a Bills fan, I admit I don’t like this arrangement… BUT, if that is what is needed to keep the team local, then I am all for it…

    People need to remember that the Green Bay Packers played 2 or 3 regular season games (plus 1 preseason game) two and a half hours away in Milwaukee for over FORTY YEARS… if that is what is needed to keep the team local (regionalization)… then people need to buck-up and accept it.

    What would you rather do? CHeer for the L.A. Bills? or cheer for the Buffalo Bills in Toronto once or twice a year? C’mon people!

  16. nflfan1326 says:
    Sep 17, 2012 1:14 PM
    @joetoronto Must have been a heck of a backup at the border. When you charge $300-$500 per ticket, you have lost home field advantage, you have lost the blue collar die hard types.
    I agree, it becomes a corporate crowd and that’s just what it is.

    It’s the same story with the Leafs, the highest ticket prices in the whole league, BY FAR, and one of the worst products.

    But they keep selling out.

    If they cut the Bills prices back, even to 100-200 dollars a seat, I’ll bet they sellout no problem.

  17. I’m an avid Bills fan from Buffalo, NY… and honestly I’m fine with this. Toronto is an incredible city about 1 hr 30 min from Buffalo. Their fans suck but this will only bring more Canadians to Buffalo (as if we didn’t have enough already) haha

    We should be blessed to have (in my opinion) the greatest city as our neighbor.

  18. Would the season ticket holders be satisfied with 6 home games instead of 8 [or 7] for the same price????

    I wouldn’t………

  19. This is a massive amount of speculation. As much as I hate the Toronto games, I understand that they are profitable for the Bills, but 2 Toronto games in one season? That is just a slap in the face to the Buffalo fans.

    The Rogers center is not made for football. The turf they roll out for the Bills games is just awful. It looks like crap on TV and the players say its crap to play on. Plus, the Bills are not a dome team, seeing a “home” game in a dome just feels so wrong.

    Also, how are the Bills supposed to convince Erie county that they deserve a new stadium if they move more games to Toronto? These NFL stadiums cost millions of dollars to build and millions more to maintain, and they only get used 8 times a season (11 at the absolute most). Now that number could get reduced to 6? That is outrageous.

  20. The regionalization story from the Bills is bull.
    They always get plenty of Canadian fans at Bills games.I really am not interested in sharing my team. They can go to L.A. or whatever. If there was ever a commitment to Buffalo from the Bills it might help ticket sales.
    It’s hard to spend money on tickets for a team thats always being rumored to be moving.
    Also. what are the prospects for any team that
    plays 10 of 16 games on the road every year ?

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