Rogers and the Buffalo Bills announced this morning that they will not be holding the Bills In Toronto series at Rogers Centre this year, claiming in a joint statement from Bills President and CEO, Russ Brandon, and Rogers Media President, Keith Pelley, that they “will use this time to collectively evaluate opportunities and build on the foundation to enhance future games.”
That seems like a rather tidy little pronouncement on the surface, but there may be a whole lot more to the story. Particularly, disaffection on the Bills’ side of things, despite the fact that it was not long ago that the two sides agreed upon a five-year extension of the deal, which was to see Bills games played at Rogers Centre until 2017.
Mike Gaughan of the Buffalo News explains:
The initial five-year deal was a financial windfall for the Bills, with Rogers guaranteeing the Bills roughly double the revenue from the games in Toronto that Buffalo would gross for games in Orchard Park. The terms of the five-year extension have not been made public. But sources have told The News that the terms are not nearly as tilted in the Bills’ favor, and that the team is not grossing much more than it would take in at The Ralph.
The series isn’t working on the field, either, with tepid crowds — “last year’s game drew an announced crowd of 38, 969, at least 12,000 short of a sellout,” Gaughan writes, also noting that there seemed to be as many Falcons fans in attendance as Bills fans — and poor results. The Bills are 1-5 in regular season games at Rogers Centre.
Perhaps the limited financial windfall under the terms of the extension doesn’t offset the dent this game — and the giving up of a real home field advantage at the Ralph, especially when they bring a damn dome team like Atlanta into Toronto for the series — puts in the Bills chances making some actual playoff revenue. It’s a hilarious thought, I know, but for real!