[b]Goodell is a huge proponent of playing in London. There will be two regular-season games played in London this season and three in 2014. The games are wildly popular and have been sellouts.
"You are proving you are worthy of a franchise," Goodell told the European fans.[/b]
Well, that about says it all. In order to be worthy of a franchise, the games need to be wildly popular and sell outs. NFL games in Toronto have been neither. Time to put a fork in this one because it is done.
[b]NBC: Only 20,000 at Colts-Bills game in Toronto[/b]
Thursday night’s game between the Colts and the Bills reportedly was played before roughly 20,000 fans, according to Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star.
Even the announced attendance of 39,583 wasn’t all that impressive.
Making Thursday’s attendance figures more troubling is the fact that the game featured a chance for a Canadian audience to see Peyton Manning and the Colts. If the trend isn’t reversed, the apparent plan to keep the Bills viable in Buffalo by playing some of the games before a packed house in Toronto could have to be scuttled — which would put the Bills right back in the mix of teams that may move to Los Angeles.
[b]Bills win scalpers lose in NFL game in Toronto[/b]
In a perfect world, everyone who comes out to the Bills in Toronto series over the next five years would be like Simon Doyle.
He's a patriotic Canadian who loves the CFL, but who drove down from Ottawa with a friend to watch the Buffalo Bills play the Pittsburgh Steelers at the Rogers Centre.
And he paid full price to do it.
Doyle purchased a ticket package giving him two seats to each of the Bills' first three games in Toronto, and even before last night's game kicked off, he said it was worth every cent of the $1,800 he paid.
The announced crowd of 48,434 exceeded the Argos' last home crowd by roughly 20,000, though Steelers fans nearly outnumbered supporters of the supposed home team.
But unlike Doyle, several thousands of those spectators paid less than face value for their tickets.
If they paid at all.
While Doyle spoke, a scalper passing by paused to inform him that he had been ripped off, and that seats that retailed for $300 were available outside the Rogers Centre for $20 or less.
A few minutes later, while canvassing passersby on a staircase leading to Front St. W., that same scalper, who didn't want his name used, tried to unload his inventory, but wasn't having much luck.
He says high initial ticket prices – some seats cost up to $600 – coupled with reports that Rogers and other sponsors gave away roughly 15,000 seats for free, combined to make business difficult for scalpers outside the stadium last night.
"There's more (free) tickets on the street than I've ever seen for any event," he said, adding that he hoped to net $100 for seats that retailed for $550. "No (scalper) is turning down a customer."
Over at the corner of Blue Jay Way and Wellington St. W., Sterling Halliday and his friends weren't interested in Bills tickets, no matter how deep the discount.
"To me the NFL is a boring game. The CFL is much better," said Halliday, a 19-year-old college student who organized the protest.
"I just want to keep the NFL out of Canada and the CFL alive."