Way back in 2008 when the relationship between the Buffalo Bills and the city of Toronto was made official it was a tale of two cities.  Buffalo was on the verge of what many thought was losing their beloved NFL franchise, and Toronto appeared full of optimism at the possibility of finally being allowed entry into the giant that is American professional football.


Not long after the initial announcement it became clear that babysitting Buffalo’s team for one game a season wasn’t going to fly in Toronto.  Ticket prices were ridiculously high causing their sales to be quite the opposite.  Feeling deserving of a franchise of their own Torontonians shied away, leaving many tickets unsold and corporate sponsors with the task of filling the remaining seats.


So what is Rogers Communications (who are responsible for the Bills in Toronto series) thinking in extending the deal for another five years?  Ultimately it appears monopolizing the Toronto sports market is the eventual goal (they already own the Blue Jays, and a one third stake in MLSE who owns the Leafs, Raptors, and Toronto FC).  The addition of an NFL franchise to the portfolio would appear to be the plan.


Toronto has longed to join the ranks of the NFL but the league doesn’t appear interested, and probably wont change that stance in the near future.  Los Angeles is again without a team within city limits so adding a franchise to the second largest television market in the country would seem to take priority over Toronto.  It was initially believed (in 2008) that the Bills in Toronto Series was the first step in a permanent move north of border.  A new lease agreement recently signed by the Bills in Buffalo has put what is probably the final brick in the wall preventing (in the near future anyway) the move.


So why would Rogers decide to renew what is apparently a bad deal for all involved? Bills fans are again furious about having to share the Bills, and Toronto doesn’t seem very interested in cheering for a team that shows up once a year. Timing appears to be the key.  When this new deal expires the Bills are only locked for two more years (without paying significant fines) into the lease agreement they signed.  Rogers it appears is biding time and trying to build a relationship between the team and the city ultimately leading to the acquisition of and re-branding as the Toronto whatevers.


For decades many people and groups have tried to bring an NFL team to town and all have ultimately failed. This slow decade long process Rogers is in the middle of is a new approach, but will it be worth all the struggles in the end?  Looks like there wont be any answers any time soon.

Loading Facebook Comments ...