Bills' Russ Brandon Expresses Concern Over Toronto Series, Team's Ticket Sales
Bills President & CEO Russ Brandon today said he plans to "review" the team playing regular-season games in Toronto amid declining attendance for the series. Brandon, appearing on Buffalo-based WGR-AM for his weekly spot, said, "There's a full evaluation that will take place on all of our business relative to what this series means." He said playing games in Toronto "has been positive for us down here (as) we've had great growth in the Southern Ontario marketplace over the last five years." But he added it has been a "challenged market there and certainly has not translated into enough wins for us there." Brandon said of losing a home game to Toronto, "It's also about being viable and that's one of the things we've talked about for many years here. Look at it from the standpoint where we've been this year on the ticket side. We've taken a game out of the market, which is essentially taking 70,000 seats out of the market and have truly only sold-out about two of our home games. We've manufactured sell-outs in the other four or five. We're trying to find ways to obviously keep this team viable, which we've done a very good job of, and this series has obviously contributed to that. With that being said, nothing comes above winning … and that will be the No. 1 focus and that's one of the reasons this will be reviewed in a grand manner." The Bills are in the first year of the second five-year agreement to play games in Toronto, so Brandon noted it would be difficult to get out of the deal. However, he said, "I'm going to look at everything. I'll just leave it to you at that." Brandon: "My focus in this organization is simple and that is to put ourselves in a position to win championships and sustain success. Period. Nothing -- nothing -- comes above that." Meanwhile, Brandon said he "didn't feel good" about selling out the team's final home game on Dec. 22 against the Dolphins, as there are about 20,000 tickets left.
SUMMER NIGHTS: Brandon also said he will review the Bills' training camp arrangement. The team currently trains at St. John Fisher College outside Rochester, and Brandon asked, "Is that the right thing to help us win? We have a great setup at Fisher. But is that the best thing for this team? When I said everything is under review I mean everything. Everything that's involved with this operation is under review. This falls under that same atmosphere" (WGR-AM, 12/4).