Blog Entry

Bills and Canada: hit for Bills, miss for Canada

Posted on: August 19, 2010 1:42 pm
 
Posted by Andy Benoit

When the Buffalo Bills take the field against the Indianapolis Colts north of the border Thursday night, the Bills’ five-year, eight-game, $78-million deal with Rogers Communication will officially be halfway over. The Canadians can only hope that the second half is more lucrative than the first.
Rogers Centre (US Presswire)
A recent Associated Press article highlights the struggles that the Rogers Centre has had with the series. Available tickets have been abundant, thanks to high prices, the economic downtown and the fact that, whether they’re playing in America or Canada, the Bills are a bad football team.

The AP writes, “Toronto Sun columnist Steve Simmons last weekend called it ‘an unmitigated disaster’ for both Toronto and Rogers Communications, which paid the Bills $78 million for the right to host the series. Richard Griffin, columnist for The Toronto Star, referred to it as ‘an epic disaster flick’ on Tuesday.”

On the other side, the Bills have no complaints. They’re making almost $10 million per game in Toronto, roughly twice what they make from a home game in Buffalo. They’ve also increased their season ticket sales to the Ontario fan base, which was the intrigue of the business deal all along. Ontario residents make up about 15 percent of season ticket-holders.

So will we see another deal between the Bills and their Toronto business partners in the future? Both sides agree it’s too early to say.
Rogers Centre vice president of events Silvio D’Addario says it isn’t all bad on their end, and that criticism in Toronto is premature.

Lessons have been learned from the first two years, and corrections – including reducing ticket prices in the 54,000-seat stadium – are on the way. And, as the AP notes, “Rogers has benefited from the games though other avenues, using its position as a league partner to land deals with the NFL and market its other media companies -- TV, radio and wireless communications.”

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Category: NFL
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