SBD/January 30, 2013/Franchises

Bills' Toronto Series Part Of Regionalization Plan; 20% Of Season Tickets From Toronto

Bills President & CEO Russ Brandon said that when the Bills began their Toronto series in '08, the team "drew about about 11 percent of their season-ticket holders from the greater Toronto area," but that number "is now more than 20 percent," according to Jay Skurski of the BUFFALO NEWS. The team and Rogers Communications yesterday announced a five-year extension to the agreement to play one regular-season game per year at the Rogers Centre, though it was not divulged "how much the Bills will be paid for this extension." Despite the Bills' "on-field struggles, both sides said Tuesday the extension -- which has been in the works for more than a year -- was never close to falling apart." Rogers Media President Keith Pelley said, "Negotiations always are easier when you both want to end at the same result." Skurski noted Brandon reiterated "why the Bills need to tap into that market." He said, "It's very important to our organization moving forward in today's NFL that we regionalize our brand." Brandon added that the team is "not trying to replicate the Ralph Wilson Stadium experience in Toronto." He said, "We have 55 years of tradition in Buffalo and in Orchard Park. We have five years of tradition [in Toronto]. We need a better on-field performance to turn people who are fans of the NFL, not particularly Bills fans, into Bills fans" (BUFFALO NEWS, 1/30). In Toronto, Bob Mitchell notes it is expected the financial benefits "will be well below" the $78M the Bills received under the original deal in '08. Pelley said that bringing the Bills to Toronto for "another five years is all about providing 'world class premium content' of the NFL for Rogers and its sports properties" (TORONTO STAR, 1/30).

REALITY BITES? In Rochester, Sal Maiorana wrote, "Even though everyone knew the news was coming, emotions are stirred and people are up in arms that this is taking place. Again." Bills fans "have to get over this." The fact that the Bills have to "play one regular-season game at Rogers Centre per season is part of their reality." It would be "great if Buffalo was like Dallas or New York or even Denver and there were an endless string of mega-rich companies willing to provide the team with multiple major sources of revenue that would help the Bills fight more competitively in the big-boy world of the NFL." But that is "not the case." It almost is "a certainty that the Bills will bank more money on that game in Toronto than they would if the game was played at the Ralph" (DEMOCRATANDCHRONICLE.com, 1/29).

EVERYDAY VALUE: The Bills today announced that season-ticket prices for '13 will remain unchanged, and will be the same per-game price for the fourth-straight season. The Bills also are lowering the season-ticket cost on over 2,500 seats in the 300 level to $25 per game from $37 per game (BUFFALOBILLS.com, 1/30).
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