SBD/May 17, 2013/Franchises

Buffalo Bisons Use Blue Jays' Affiliation, Border Location To Tap Into Canadian Market

The Bisons are in their first year as the Blue Jays' Triple-A affiliate
The Blue Jays prior to this season moved their Triple-A affiliation from Las Vegas to Buffalo, and while the move has had “business implications for both teams," there has been a "more profound effect for the Bisons, where both the team and Buffalo’s beleaguered downtown core have new opportunities for marketing and making money,” according to Morgan Campbell of the TORONTO STAR. The Bisons’ arrangement with the Blue Jays means more visitors "are Canadian.” Bisons VP & GM Mike Buczkowski said that within “24 hours of announcing their Jays affiliation, the Bisons received 100 season ticket orders from fans in southern Ontario.” Canadian fans on Opening Day “helped swell attendance to 15,852, the best figure for a weekday game since 1999.” The team is "set to start advertising on roadside billboards in cities between Hamilton and the border" to try and draw more Canadian fans. Also, to “accommodate Jays fans the club now accepts Canadian dollars." Buczkowski said that through the first month of the season, 25% of purchases at the team’s online store “come from Canada, roughly twice the normal rate.” Vendors at Coca-Cola Field “similarly report that a quarter of the cash they handle is Canadian.” Buczkowski said that the deal with the Bisons is “meant to draw western New Yorkers to the Rogers Centre” just as the Bills “hope to use the Bills in Toronto series to establish themselves as a regional team with a fan base beyond Buffalo’s shrinking market” (TORONTO STAR, 5/17).
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