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View Full Version : Bills to be paid $78 million to play in Toronto


Wolf
04-30-2008, 11:49 AM
I wonder how Bills fans feel about this and the city of Buffalo with Ralph Wilson stadium... losing are regular season game a year and 3 preseason games over 5 years

http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/news;_ylt=AiF6_nqpJXHu1g53ls1CvqtDubYF?slug=ap-bills-torontorevenues&prov=ap&type=lgns

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP)—The Buffalo Bills will receive $78 million—more than double their calculated 2006 operating income—to play eight games in Toronto over the next five years.

The payment to the Bills was disclosed for the first time in Rogers Communications’ 2008 first-quarter report released Tuesday. The Toronto-based company is part of a consortium that negotiated a deal with the Bills to have them play five regular-season and three preseason games, starting this year, at the downtown Rogers Centre.

In becoming the NFL’s first team to play annual games outside the United States, the Bills are scheduled to host Pittsburgh in a preseason match at Toronto on Aug. 14, followed by a regular-season game against Miami on Dec. 7.

Rogers spokeswoman Jan Innes would not comment beyond the one-paragraph statement included in the company report, except to say the $78 million figure was in Canadian currency. The Canadian dollar hovered around par to its U.S. counterpart during the first quarter this year.

Innes declined to say whether any portion of the payment has been made to the Bills.

Bills spokesman Scott Berchtold also declined comment, citing a policy that the team does not discuss financial details of its business relationships.

Double Barrel
04-30-2008, 11:55 AM
I wonder how Bills fans feel about this and the city of Buffalo with Ralph Wilson stadium... losing are regular season game a year and 3 preseason games over 5 years

I guess it's better than losing the team to another city and having them completely change the name/identity, though.

hobie
04-30-2008, 12:06 PM
I guess it's better than losing the team to another city and having them completely change the name/identity, though.

Who would do that, I mean for an owner not to be loyal to a city and it's fans sounds absurd to me !! You really are reaching DB !

Wolf
04-30-2008, 12:11 PM
I don't know the economic situation the Bills are in , but my first thought is if the Texans played 5 reg season games in Mexico City over 5 years .either I would be ticked off at that or I would just plan on getting tickets and getting some cheap beer over there :whip:

Wolf
04-30-2008, 12:15 PM
As part of the agreement, the Toronto group is effectively leasing the home games from the Bills. Buffalo will provide the team, the NFL provides an opponent, while the Toronto organizers will be responsible for selling tickets, concessions and promoting the event.

The Toronto group is using the eight-game series to show the city can support its own NFL franchise. The Bills sought the agreement to generate additional revenues by expanding their market to Canada’s largest city and financial capital, a 90-minute drive from Buffalo.


well if goes good, I guess it gives the NFL something to think about adding 2 teams (LA and Toronto?) to expansion? I seriously doubt that and don't know if I would want to see it

Vinny
04-30-2008, 12:27 PM
Hell, it's like having a Houston game in Galveston...heck, I think Galveston is a longer drive. You can almost throw a rock from Buffalo and hit Toronto. When the Bills revamped their uniforms a few years ago many thought the away jersey was very Canadian football league looking so they could appeal to the Canadian Bill fans....and there are a bunch of them.

Wolf
04-30-2008, 12:27 PM
Hell, it's like having a Houston game in Galveston...heck, I think Galveston i s a longer drive. You can almost throw a rock from Buffalo and hit Toronto.

true vinny

toronto
04-30-2008, 12:43 PM
Guys:

I am writing a full story on this for Blitz! magazine that will be available in print and (hopefully online) sometime in June.

The magazine's website is www.blitzmagonline.com

I have interviewed Steve Tasker, Scott Berchtold (VP of communications for the Bills) as well as a few media personalties both in Toronto as well as Buffalo.

I will share the piece with all of you (2,000 words or so) when it's ready. I work for the organization that is partnering with Wilson, so I've been allowed access that has made this piece a pleasure to research and start putting together.

hollywood_texan
04-30-2008, 12:57 PM
I find it interesting that the Bills will not sell the naming rights to their stadium for posterity purposes, yet they will take money to play games outside their stadium in place of home games. It just doesn't make sense to me to do one and not the other.

I guess they'll sell out part of the way, but not all the way.

The Bills should sell the naming rights too and maybe they'll be closer to competing in profits similar to the larger markets and require less revenue sharing.

toronto
04-30-2008, 01:05 PM
I find it interesting that the Bills will not sell the naming rights to their stadium for posterity purposes, yet they will take money to play games outside their stadium in place of home games. It just doesn't make sense to me to do one and not the other.

I guess they'll sell out part of the way, but not all the way.

The Bills should sell the naming rights too and maybe they'll be closer to competing in profits similar to the larger markets and require less revenue sharing.

There are two points of view on this story:

1) That there simply isn't enough corporate support in Western NY to get things like 'naming rights.' Secondly, the Bills charge the least amount of money per ticket in the NFL, close to $30 per ticket less than any other team. Options are low there and there's no chance in hell that Wilson can get the state to help foot the bill for a new stadium with the requisite PSL/private boxes etc.

2) The other thought (competing) is that Wilson is simply taking advantage of a market (5th largest in North America now) that already provides him an estimated 15-20% of his gate revenue. Toronto already is the de facto second home for the Bills - Buffalo TV is beamed into all local Toronto cable provider(s), including my employer.

Don't forget too that there is precendence here - GB did this for 8 years with Milwaukee, and that was 4 home games per year.

hollywood_texan
04-30-2008, 01:30 PM
There are two points of view on this story:

1) That there simply isn't enough corporate support in Western NY to get things like 'naming rights.' Secondly, the Bills charge the least amount of money per ticket in the NFL, close to $30 per ticket less than any other team. Options are low there and there's no chance in hell that Wilson can get the state to help foot the bill for a new stadium with the requisite PSL/private boxes etc.

2) The other thought (competing) is that Wilson is simply taking advantage of a market (5th largest in North America now) that already provides him an estimated 15-20% of his gate revenue. Toronto already is the de facto second home for the Bills - Buffalo TV is beamed into all local Toronto cable provider(s), including my employer.

Don't forget too that there is precendence here - GB did this for 8 years with Milwaukee, and that was 4 home games per year.

I hear what you are saying, and I completely encourage what the Bills are doing to increase revenues. The old days of the AFL through the 70's and 80's NFL are over. There is a new era, and these old/established teams in smaller markets cannot just sit around and expect the league to subsidize their organization. Cincinnati is probably more guilty of this than Buffalo.

My main point is, Bob McNair plowed in more than $1 billion to get the Texans off the ground. So, even though he makes a lot more money, his ROI is very different from the Buffalo Bills. Meaning, just because the Texans make a lot of money, it doesn't mean the Texans should have to share it with smaller market teams that do not aggressively pursue new revenue streams as the league has evolved.

The Bills are doing a good thing here. Times have changed and they are moving along with them. I hope that they will continue to do more so the organization can stand alone with minimal revenue sharing.

I am not against revenue sharing to smooth things out, but an old team with a very low cost basis shouldn't be subsidized to stay in business.

PapaL
04-30-2008, 01:35 PM
To counter your first point - it doesn't really matter if the name on the stadium is a local company or not. The Washington Redskins Stadium is named FedEx Field yet FedEx HQ's in Memphis, TN. Isn't it about broadcasting the product name as far and as often as possible; no?

toronto
04-30-2008, 01:52 PM
To counter your first point - it doesn't really matter if the name on the stadium is a local company or not. The Washington Redskins Stadium is named FedEx Field yet FedEx HQ's in Memphis, TN. Isn't it about broadcasting the product name as far and as often as possible; no?

You're obviously correct. Keep this in mind.

1) Buffalo is the 32nd largest market of 32 teams
2) It's economy is beyond decline - it's a shrinking market
3) The partners involved in Toronto are two of the richest men in Canada - Ted Rogers is worth billions and can easily afford the franchise, a transfer fee and either retro-fitting the Rogers Centre (Nee Skydome) or building a new football-only stadium.

This would not have been possible BTW until the Cdn. dollar hit par with the US buck - I think 5 years ago the buck was at .70, now it's basically at par. That's a huge difference.

Tedc
04-30-2008, 01:56 PM
When the Bills revamped their uniforms a few years ago many thought the away jersey was very Canadian football league looking so they could appeal to the Canadian Bill fans....

CANADIAN BILL??

I have enough trouble with Texan Bill.

Texan_Bill
04-30-2008, 01:56 PM
Hell, it's like having a Houston game in Galveston...heck, I think Galveston is a longer drive. You can almost throw a rock from Buffalo and hit Toronto. When the Bills revamped their uniforms a few years ago many thought the away jersey was very Canadian football league looking so they could appeal to the Canadian Bill fans....and there are a bunch of them.

It would be more akin to driving to Austin... Toronto is about an hour and a half to two hours from Buffalo.... ~ 90 miles. You have to drive west to Hamilton first and then east to Buffalo....

Texan_Bill
04-30-2008, 01:57 PM
CANADIAN BILL??

I have enough trouble with Texan Bill.

LMAO.... NO!!! Although I did spend a week in Toronto before.

Tedc
04-30-2008, 01:59 PM
LMAO.... NO!!! Although I did spend a week in Toronto before.

Poser.......ay?

Texan_Bill
04-30-2008, 02:02 PM
Poser.......ay?

"take off, ey"......"fleshy headed mutant"

PapaL
04-30-2008, 02:19 PM
You're obviously correct. Keep this in mind.

1) Buffalo is the 32nd largest market of 32 teams
2) It's economy is beyond decline - it's a shrinking market
3) The partners involved in Toronto are two of the richest men in Canada - Ted Rogers is worth billions and can easily afford the franchise, a transfer fee and either retro-fitting the Rogers Centre (Nee Skydome) or building a new football-only stadium.

This would not have been possible BTW until the Cdn. dollar hit par with the US buck - I think 5 years ago the buck was at .70, now it's basically at par. That's a huge difference.

Don't get me wrong - I don't care where they play as long as they can compete financially. They could be the third team at the Meadow Lands or time share with Toronto. All fine by me. They clearly need some sort of help.

Hervoyel
05-01-2008, 10:38 AM
I don't know the economic situation the Bills are in , but my first thought is if the Texans played 5 reg season games in Mexico City over 5 years .either I would be ticked off at that or I would just plan on getting tickets and getting some cheap beer over there :whip:


The day the Texans announce that they're going to be playing regular season home games in Mexico City I announce that I'm done with them. The "Houston" Texans should play their home games in Houston Texas just like the Buffalo Bills should play their home games in Buffalo New York.

I do not like where I see the league headed with this. A long time ago most merchandise sold featured the name of the teams home town on it. "Houston" was at least as important as "Oilers" in the name. Then when teams started moving around (Thanks Al Davis and Bob Irsay you sorry sacks of dung) the gear started just saying "Oilers" or "Raiders". It's like the league started laying the groundwork for the next series of blackmail operations against the fans. Then the next bunch of ungrateful millionaires did their bit and I thought it was as bad as it could get.

I was wrong. Now we're going to see cities get to keep their teams but not go to home games in their own town. Now we live in a time when the commissioner thinks it's a good idea to take home games away from fans and hold them halfway around the world to help build interest in areas where the NFL will never, ever expand. I don't want to see an NFL team in Toronto or Mexico City. Screw that! They have the CFL and if people in Mexico want professional American football they can form an MFL or keep watching the Cowboys from afar.

At first the NFL was about football and making ends meet. Then it became "just a business" and that was a bad thing. Then it became an incredibly lucrative business and that was worse. Now it's not even about being a local business. It's about being a global business and selling swag to people around the globe.

toronto
05-01-2008, 10:50 AM
The day the Texans announce that they're going to be playing regular season home games in Mexico City I announce that I'm done with them. The "Houston" Texans should play their home games in Houston Texas just like the Buffalo Bills should play their home games in Buffalo New York.

I do not like where I see the league headed with this. A long time ago most merchandise sold featured the name of the teams home town on it. "Houston" was at least as important as "Oilers" in the name. Then when teams started moving around (Thanks Al Davis and Bob Irsay you sorry sacks of dung) the gear started just saying "Oilers" or "Raiders". It's like the league started laying the groundwork for the next series of blackmail operations against the fans. Then the next bunch of ungrateful millionaires did their bit and I thought it was as bad as it could get.

I was wrong. Now we're going to see cities get to keep their teams but not go to home games in their own town. Now we live in a time when the commissioner thinks it's a good idea to take home games away from fans and hold them halfway around the world to help build interest in areas where the NFL will never, ever expand. I don't want to see an NFL team in Toronto or Mexico City. Screw that! They have the CFL and if people in Mexico want professional American football they can form an MFL or keep watching the Cowboys from afar.

At first the NFL was about football and making ends meet. Then it became "just a business" and that was a bad thing. Then it became an incredibly lucrative business and that was worse. Now it's not even about being a local business. It's about being a global business and selling swag to people around the globe.

I do understand your point(s) here so I will tread carefully in my response. Bear this in mind. I am not a Bills fan so I'm not as biased as you might think I am, as much as I would love NFL football here!

1) Wilson is low on options. The economy in Western NY is terrible. Buffalo is a shrinking market with limited resources.

2) His stadium has the least amount of revenue per game in the NFL, despite seating capacity of 73,000 and change.

3) The government will not play ball for him here and help him with funds for a new stadium like Reliant or LP Field, and you can certain that neither will taxpayers, who are struggling here as it is.

4) There are no local white knight billionaires in the area that can afford the franchise. Tom Golisano bought the Sabres, but he's not rich enough nor does he have the political clout to make it work for the Bills.

Add this together and you've a got a recipe for disaster if things remain the same for Wilson, who isn't long for this earth as it is. He is hardly a Bud Adams or Irsay. He's trying something else first before he auctions off the team or worse, moves it in the middle of the night.

Giant Tiger
05-02-2008, 07:01 AM
Hell, it's like having a Houston game in Galveston...heck, I think Galveston is a longer drive. You can almost throw a rock from Buffalo and hit Toronto. When the Bills revamped their uniforms a few years ago many thought the away jersey was very Canadian football league looking so they could appeal to the Canadian Bill fans....and there are a bunch of them.

True-but their fan base is not Canada-wide. Mostly Toronto-Niagara & a sprinkling in Ottawa.

toronto
05-05-2008, 11:25 AM
I interviewed VP Communications and Bills spokesperson Scott Berchtold yesterday - I won't comment too much until I've finished my work and it's published, but I will say this. If the Bills are 100% certain that they will sell to Rogers and move to Toronto, they are playing a hell of a hand of poker right now. They sure weren't dealt pocket aces.

TD
05-05-2008, 11:50 AM
I would think season ticket holders are dancing in the streets. I always HATED paying for preseason games as part of the season ticket package. I'm assuming they won't have to for these "away" games.

Losing the regular season game sucks though.

Hervoyel
05-05-2008, 12:03 PM
I do understand your point(s) here so I will tread carefully in my response. Bear this in mind. I am not a Bills fan so I'm not as biased as you might think I am, as much as I would love NFL football here!....

I hear you. I just die inside a little bit everytime I see a story like this.

Second Honeymoon
05-05-2008, 01:46 PM
Give Toronto a football team, eh. They already have to suffer through season after season of Maple Leaf hockey, the least we could do is give them some NFL to distract them. After all, the Canadians practically gave us the NHL itself. It's the least we could do.

seriously, Buffalo is just not an NFL market anymore. Wilson has done right by their fans and its just no longer fiscally responsible. I don't believe in NFL Welfare and the Bills are pretty much welfare status. Why not let a great metropolitan city like Toronto infuse some life and revenue into this struggling organization. Bills fan still gets games in the US and can drive less than 45 minutes (including border checkpoint time) to get to their teams Toronto games.

I'd rather just move the team to LA but that aint happening. This seems like the best alternative that rewards the good fans of Buffalo who shouldn't be punished because their city is dying. its probably rough enough their as it is. Wasn't NAFTA supposed to help these cities?

Wolf
05-10-2008, 08:15 PM
http://www.buffalonews.com/sports/billsnfl/story/341214.html

Ticket prices -- as expected -- are through the proverbial roof of the domed Rogers Centre for the Buffalo Bills' series of games in Toronto.

Sideline seats from the end zones to the 20-yard lines will cost $295 a game. Anyone who wants to sit in the lower bowl of the Rogers Centre between the 20-yard lines will pay more than $300. Just how much more? Those seats are considered the VIP location and come with "hospitality" amenities. The prices for the VIP seats will be revealed May 12.

The prices for the Bills games were released today by Toronto organizers.

While it's impossible to determine the exact average ticket price at this time, it's apparent it will be much more than $200 a ticket. The average price for a seat at Ralph Wilson Stadium this year is $51.24. The Rogers Centre will seat about 54,000 for Bills games.

The Bills will play eight games over five seasons in Toronto … three preseason games and five regular-season games. Fans have the option of buying a three-game package (for the two games this year and the one regular-season game in 2009) or the full eight-game package. Those who buy the eight-game package get a discount. Those $295 seats near the corners of the lower deck cost $270 per game for the eight-game package.

The lower half of the upper deck along the sidelines will cost $235 for the three-game package and $215 for eight games. The upper half of the upper deck along the sidelines will cost $185 for three games, $170 for eight games.

The upper-deck seats in the end zones all are priced under $100.


:thinking:

I wonder what the price of tarps will cost?

ubecool454
05-10-2008, 10:57 PM
I guess it's better than losing the team to another city and having them completely change the name/identity, though.

Yeah I guess thats one way of looking at it but, I sure feel bad for the fans in Buffalo. I just see this as the first step in what will ultimately see the Bills move to greener pastures. The fans in Houston and Cleveland can certainly sympathize with the Bills fans, who have been some of the NFLs best. I was thinking that the next NFL to even mention the possibility of a move would be going west to LA, not north to a foreign country.