SBD/November 30, 2012/Franchises

Bills In Toronto Series Faces Uncertain Future As Rogers Media, NFL Work On Deal

The Bills in Toronto Series began in '08; the current agreement expires this year
The future of the Bills in Toronto Series remains "up in the air," but series Exec Dir Greg Albrecht is "confident a new deal between Rogers Media and the NFL team will get done, which will allow more games at Rogers Centre for at least two more years," according to Mike Beamish of the VANCOUVER SUN. The NFL "probably will continue to maintain a foothold in southern Ontario." As far as "stamping out the Canadian Football League with its heavy, hobnailed boot, however, a Stanley Cup for the Maple Leafs is a much more likely possibility, as improbable as that sounds." Albrecht's "current challenge is to fill Rogers Centre for the Bills-Seahawks' game, knowing it falls soon after the iconic national exercise of the Grey Cup game." Rogers Media in the past "was accused of being too aggressive in its price structure for the Bills in Toronto game, and the result was a profusion of comp tickets needed to 'paper' the house." Despite the "nearness to western New York," many Bills fans were "turned off not only by high ticket pricing but by the inertia and vastness of Rogers Centre itself." Albrecht: "I know [late CFL Lions President] Bobby Ackles had some issues about the NFL coming to Canada. He was in a big flap about it in '08. No one knew what to expect. Since then, there hasn't been as much animosity about the game being played here." He added, "At the end of the day, it's not about whether you're wearing an NFL jersey or a CFL jersey, or an NHL jersey or MLS, it's about entertainment, fan integration, the fan experience and what kind of legacy you leave behind. I don't think one -- CFL or NFL -- is better than the other" (VANCOUVER SUN, 11/30).
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