Buried in a press release sent out by the team this morning (so much so that I completely missed it before seeing an item elsewhere this afternoon) was an odd note that the Bills will not be playing a preseason game in Toronto this summer, despite the fact that was called for under the terms of the original five-year, eight-game pact between Rogers Communications and the franchise.
The game (opponent still to be determined) was moved back across the border “due to scheduling conflicts at the Toronto venue.”
Seems strange, because there are open dates with the Blue Jays on the road during both Week 1 and Week 3 of the preseason, including two Thursday nights (which is when both previous Toronto preseason games were played). The Argonauts, who released their schedule last week, aren’t a factor either.
The events schedule on the Rogers Centre website doesn’t reach August but it’s not as though a lot of concerts are held at the venue nowadays.
I don’t doubt there’s a legit conflict here, but I also get the feeling that if Rogers really cared about the game, it’d make room for it.
If this indicates anything, it’s that the deal between Rogers and the Bills will indeed be extended in the near future, because Rogers paid nearly $10 million for each of these games. Were the preseason games running profits? Not likely, but I’m sure they wouldn’t just scrap a game without leaving room to balance the loss and/or gain in future years.
“We are currently working with Rogers Communications to extend our agreement to play Bills games at Rogers Centre,” said Bills CEO Russ Brandon. “Our core goal is to continue to regionalize our franchise and continue our series in Toronto which has served us so well. We will provide more information once terms are finalized.”