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Old 04-30-2008   #1
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Default Bills to be paid $78 million to play in Toronto

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;_yl...v=ap&type=lgns

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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.
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Old 04-30-2008   #2
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Default Re: Bills to be paid $78 million to play in Toronto

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Originally Posted by Wolf View Post
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.
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Old 04-30-2008   #3
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Default Re: Bills to be paid $78 million to play in Toronto

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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 !
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Old 04-30-2008   #4
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Default Re: Bills to be paid $78 million to play in Toronto

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
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Old 04-30-2008   #5
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Default Re: Bills to be paid $78 million to play in Toronto

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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
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Old 04-30-2008   #6
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Default Re: Bills to be paid $78 million to play in Toronto

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.
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Old 04-30-2008   #7
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Default Re: Bills to be paid $78 million to play in Toronto

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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
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Old 04-30-2008   #8
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Default Re: Bills to be paid $78 million to play in Toronto

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.
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Old 04-30-2008   #9
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Default Re: Bills to be paid $78 million to play in Toronto

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.
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Old 04-30-2008   #10
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Default Re: Bills to be paid $78 million to play in Toronto

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Originally Posted by hollywood_texan View Post
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.
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Old 04-30-2008   #11
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Default Re: Bills to be paid $78 million to play in Toronto

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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.
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Old 04-30-2008   #12
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Default Re: Bills to be paid $78 million to play in Toronto

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?
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Old 04-30-2008   #13
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Default Re: Bills to be paid $78 million to play in Toronto

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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.
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Old 04-30-2008   #14
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Default Re: Bills to be paid $78 million to play in Toronto

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Originally Posted by Vinny View Post
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.
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Old 04-30-2008   #15
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Default Re: Bills to be paid $78 million to play in Toronto

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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....
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Old 04-30-2008   #16
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Default Re: Bills to be paid $78 million to play in Toronto

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CANADIAN BILL??

I have enough trouble with Texan Bill.
LMAO.... NO!!! Although I did spend a week in Toronto before.
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Old 04-30-2008   #17
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Default Re: Bills to be paid $78 million to play in Toronto

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LMAO.... NO!!! Although I did spend a week in Toronto before.
Poser.......ay?
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Old 04-30-2008   #18
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Default Re: Bills to be paid $78 million to play in Toronto

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Poser.......ay?
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Old 04-30-2008   #19
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Default Re: Bills to be paid $78 million to play in Toronto

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Originally Posted by toronto View Post
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.
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Old 05-01-2008   #20
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Default Re: Bills to be paid $78 million to play in Toronto

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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

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.
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