SBD/November 27, 2013/Franchises

Bills Expect Another Big Crowd For Rogers Centre Game, With No Comps Needed

Toronto Series ticket sales from Western New Yorkers are up slightly this year
Fans attending Sunday's Falcons-Bills game at Rogers Centre can "expect another crowd of about 40,000," and for the "second consecutive year, that's a real number," according to John Kryk of the QMI AGENCY. That means the game will be "freebies-free." Rogers Centre was "papered up to its retractable roof for the first four games in the annual series to make up for sales shortfalls owing to ridiculously priced tickets." But starting last year, Rogers Media "not only further slashed ticket prices, but also stopped giving away tickets just to put bums in empty blue seats." Bills in Toronto Series Exec Dir Greg Albrecht said that the Bills have "sold about 82% of the tickets for Sunday's game," and that ticket sales from Western New Yorkers "are up slightly this year." Albrecht: "It's going to be about a 5% lift for people coming from Buffalo. It's definitely getting better." Another reason for the "slight bump in interest across the Niagara River is that the Bills aren't entirely out of the playoff hunt" (QMI AGENCY, 11/26).

NO SUCH THING AS COINCIDENCE? In Rochester, Leo Roth notes the report that Jon Bon Jovi is interested in purchasing the Bills "broke the week" of the Bills' game in Toronto. Roth: "You don't think the shrewd marketing folks working for the Bills and Rogers Communications would plant a story to create some buzz around a game featuring teams sporting 4-7 and 2-9 records, do you?" Story timing aside, a "wildly popular rock star buying a professional sports team isn't farfetched and the impact could be profound," as was the case when Jay Z joined the Nets' ownership group and "completely revived that franchise's relevance." Bon Jovi's interest in football and the NFL "is genuine," and his ties with the owners of Toronto's pro sports teams "make him a serious player in the future of the Bills" (ROCHESTER DEMOCRAT & CHRONICLE, 11/27).
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