Toronto/Buffalo conspiracy theories

Ok, I've done a lot of "googling" this morning and read a ton of stuff from the Buffalo papers describing how their fans are livid, untrustworthy of and generally upset at their owner. I also read Steve Milton's take on this in today's Spec....which started out this way:

What wasn't said

Bills arrival in Toronto leaves more to the imagination than what was answered

February 07, 2008
Steve Milton
The Hamilton Spectator
TORONTO (Feb 7, 2008)

What went unsaid was more important than what was actually said at the tightly-controlled gathering of Toronto's Big Sports Money yesterday.

Click link to read the rest:

http://www.thespec.com/Sports/article/321093

Sooooo, it seems this Toronto/Buffalo story leaves it wide open for theories at this stage....do you have any of your own?

I do....here goes...

I believe that since their stadium lease expires in four years and the owner has turned down recent offers to re-negotiate a new lease he, Ralph Wilson Jr., is going to sell the franchise shortly (perhaps under pressure from the NFL) and is testing the waters, and the NFL powers that be, to see if his search for a buyer is already complete. So far the NFL seems to be favouring this experiment in Toronto. Toronto also seems to satisfy most of the requirements as far as the financial legitimacy of the group that is interested, the general population base and the 10-20 thousand Canadians who are already patrons of the Bills. Add to this the fact that no major sports league has ever turned down Toronto and you have a scenario developing that seems to be unstoppable now.
Even if Ralph Wilson's daughters inherit the team through his passing away in a few years, the wheels are already in motion for a quick and relatively easy sale to let them "cash it out".

My theory is that this whole affair is a lot more serious than what we heard from both parties yesterday.

In the end, it seems that The Tiger-Cats and Mr. Young were bang on in their sudden move to say.....Wait just a minute, is nobody thinking about the ramifications here?
I hope Mark Cohon and the CFL Board of Governors can get some firm assurances from the NFL that this deal in Toronto isn't just a smokescreen for them doing their due diligence on a sale and move of the Buffalo Bills....right under everyone's noses.

The Bills fans and sports writers sure smell a rat!

Being a CFL fan for about 38 years, I'm really concerned now. At least the Tiger-Cats aren't asleep at the switch and stood up to cry foul. Let's hope something comes of the Ticat protest in the long run.

Well, that sums up what I believe is going on...right or wrong, it's how I feel.

Thanks for reading,

mike

I wonder if a lot of this boils down to Ralph saying to the politicians in Buffalo build me a new downtown domed/retractable roof stadium so I can bring a SB to Buffalo and ensure the most value for this team when I pass away so my estate gets the most money - OR ELSE, bye bye to Toronto who really want my business.

As usual, the fans are more or less left out in the dark.

Bob Young is right but so are the Argos and Commissioner Cohon. If the NFL wants to play games in Toronto or eventually move or sell a team to someone who wants to set up shop in Toronto, the Argos and Cohon are absolutely powerless to intervene. The ramifications for the CFL are obvious—if the NFL establishes a team in Toronto, it will quickly kill the CFL as we know it. Clearly, that’s what Bob Young is saying. But what options do the Argos or the league have? None. They know that better than anyone but I think they are making the best of a bad situation. I’m hoping (as they probably are) that by letting the Bills establish southern Ontario as their market, they are ‘preventing’ another NFL team from setting up here. I don’t think the Bills will leave Buffalo but I think we will see more Bills games at the Rogers Centre.

Let’s face it, the NFL’s presence in Canada reduces the value of every franchise in the CFL, especially Toronto and Hamilton. The CFL owners are aware of that but can do nothing to prevent it.

One more point. Do not under-estimate the financial resources of people like Tannenbaum, Rogers and Godrey. Between them they control a sports empire and a mega-telecommunications network. If it’s just a stadium that’s standing between them and a NFL franchise, the shovels will be in the ground tomorrow.

An Argo-Cat fan

Agree and disagree. I think to a certain extent the NFL/Bills needed the CFL and the Blue team to give the 'okay' to go ahead with them plans. It looks alot better on the NFL/Bills if they have that support.

Plus, and this is where I agree with the Ticats 100% is that with the Bills coming up it would have been a great time to also announce a new agreement between the CFL and NFL on marketing initiative, player tranfers, etc.

But I think the CFL dropped the ball on initiating those talks, the blue team seems only focused on themselves and not the league and a new agreement, regardless of the fact they could not do anything stop the Bills.

One more point. Do not under-estimate the financial resources of people like Tannenbaum, Rogers and Godrey. Between them they control a sports empire and a mega-telecommunications network. If it's just a stadium that's standing between them and a NFL franchise, the shovels will be in the ground tomorrow.
Absolutely.....the bucks that this crew has access to is mind-boggling even by NFL standards...a new NFL size stadium wouldn't even be concern for these guys....as you said, the shovels would be in the ground tomorrow.

And make no mistake, the three of them want one thing and one thing only.....an NFL team in Toronto....which explains their use of the term "Dream Come True" yesterday.....do people really think they were just talking about 8 games in 5 years?...

We know what the "dream" is.

I also agree that the CFL and the Argonauts may be powerless in reality. It's a real dilemna as to how to approach this. There isn't a manual as far as I know.

Ralph Wilson in his comparison of Toronto to Dallas, and his subsequent speech of how bad Buffalo is, certainly tipped his hand as I see it.

..but that's just me.....

In five years or less, the Bills will be moved to Toronto, and the Argos will be moved to either Ottawa, Halifax or Quebec City. The writing is on the wall. Rogers and Tannenbaum want the NFL in Toronto, and they will get it. Like barneyfife said, these two have a lot of financial power, and rich men almost always get what they want.

I think TSN will still continue to want to broadcast the CFL, and fans will still buy tickets in remaining CFL cities, so I think the league can still survive and prosper without a Toronto team.

But no more Argo/Ticat rivalry. Sad.

I say the Argos stay in Toronto no matter what but at BMO which should be good actually. And play the odd game at an expanded RC and GC there.

Why do people here underestimate the very loyal Argo fanbase in Toronto? I think that's a put down to these great CFL fans there who are not about to abandon the Argos that easily, I have more faith in them myself.

Have a read at these Toronto Star articles in today's paper:

http://www.thestar.com/Sports/article/301308 http://www.thestar.com/Sports/Football/article/301309 http://www.thestar.com/Sports/article/301312

I'm a little PO'd at the whole thing on two points:
1 - Football fans in Buffalo look to be SOL.
2 - Skydome (originally paid for with taxpayer money) would have to be expanded (again, with taxpayer money?????)

While I'm not an NFL fan, I do care about my tax-dollars going to support the NFL in Canada, especially when the Ti-Cats also want a new stadium, and are likely "kicking tires" now to see if there would be support from local/provincial government money for a new stadium.

When it comes down to it, if the Ti-Cats and the Bills are up against each other for Provincial stadium money, whose going to win??

I agree that there are a lot of loyal CFL fans out there.....but are the sponsors as loyal?.....that's the big hurdle the CFL will have to compete for....it was already brought up yesterday in an interview with one of the principals at the press conference about the corporate market in Southern Ontario and in Canada that the Bills are eyeing.

I too think the CFL can survive in southern Ontario if the NFL does come to Toronto....but a brand new aggressive marketing approach has to be drafted.....and that includes teams like the Argos and Tiger-Cats reaching into Western New York and bonding with those football fans....and it's not impossible to make them CFL fans in my opinion if we start now....not in 5 years, but now.

If the NFL ever sets up shop in TO beyond a few games, the NFL juggernaut will sweep the Argos aside like a gnat on an elephant's rear end. I've been an Argo/CFL (and more recently Cats) fan for many years but I also realize how powerful the NFL brand is. A move to BMO might keep the Argos going but on a much reduced scale and the corporate support will fall to the NFL. Remember, conservatively 75% of the CFL's corporate support is located in Toronto. Take Toronto out of the mix and how much of that would remain? Likeit or not, the entire CFL would suffer greatly without the Argos.

An Argo-Cat fan

Well, I wonder then if the entire CFL has been operating on a model which really, it never should of. Maybe it should be smaller but more comprehensive so the London's, Victoria's, Saskatoon's etc. could be involved more easily.

It certainly didn't take any fortune teller to know the Buffalo area was dimishing economically for a long time and Godfrey et al. have been going after the NFL for decades, or so it seems. But the CFL decided to stay more as a niche league in a few markets instead of more comprehensive yet smaller model, especially after the US experiment failed.

As I say, doesn't take too many brains to figure the out the Bills situation was a real possibility.

I have no idea what to believe. At this point, nothing would surprise me.

All I know is that if I was certain that the CFL could survive and thrive with an NFL team in Toronto, then I'd welcome it. Otherwise I want them to stay in their own country because I'm afraid the uncertainty could lead to the loss of some valuable Canadiana.

I like NFL. I watch it on TV and go to live games. i don't need them to be in Toronto to enjoy it.

I'm with you there Captain but what we need or don't need doesn't really matter at this point. When you have the likes of people like Rogers and Tanenbaum who can call a press conference like yesterday with Ralph Wilson and have gadzillion cameras and media people there, the few of us who, if you're like me, counting our pennies for sports dollars entertainment, well just saying, Rogers and Tanenbaum really don't care about us that much, they don't need us sorts. They want the corporate dollars the businesses in the GTA have especially. The seats will be filled by the many, many people in southern Ontario who couldn't give one rats a** about the CFL, there are thousands and thousands of them not only in Toronto but Kitchener, London etc.

For sure, Earl.

I was somewhat put off by those guys at the press conference. I was surprsied and disappointed to see that display by them.

To me they came across as greedy old men, who have no idea nor concern about what the CFL means to Canada.

They seemed smug, pleased with themselves, clueless and insensitive. ( The MLSE syndrome)

That caught me off guard. I didn’t like it at all.

And what bugs me is that I see so many young people and not just young people in Canada that I think have little respect or knowledge for and of this country, it's all what can you give me. I really think Canada as a country isn't respected by a certain percentage of Canadians who don't think past what the next big show is on TV which is probably an American show. They probably think they are living in the US anyways, I'm serious actually.

Anyways enough of this, I'm going to try and shut up about this now, but I have trouble keeping my trap shut at times. :wink:

Actually, I think it's NOT enough. I think you hit the nail right on the head and that this is the most pertinent point in the entire controversy regarding the Bills in Toronto.

Some view the CFL as nothing more than a business, while others attribute far more important and meaningful apsects to it.

If a threat does arise, then the question becomes what do Canadians collectively think about the CFL and what it means to them and to Canada.

It burns me to no end that the rights to the image of the Mounties is owned by Disney.

And what bugs me is that I see so many young people and not just young people in Canada that I think have little respect or knowledge for and of this country, it's all what can you give me. I really think Canada as a country isn't respected by a certain percentage of Canadians who don't think past what the next big show is on TV which is probably an American show. They probably think they are living in the US anyways, I'm serious actually.

Anyways enough of this, I'm going to try and shut up about this now, but I have trouble keeping my trap shut at times. :wink:


Young people? Im sick of this young people dont respect BS. If you are not aware how old is Mr. Rogers?

I wonder how feasible your idea of involving smaller regional cities is. It sure is a lot more appealing to me to see Saskatoon, Victoria, Quebec City, London, etc. in the CFL than a carpetbagging NFL team in Toronto. You never know about the future though. Sask's economy is booming. Can it suppport a second CFL team? Can Saskatoon afford to build a stadium? London is very healthy economically. Can it build a stadium and support a team?

I can always dream can't I? Better than contemplating the NFL in Toronto anyway.

An Argo-Cat fan

Perhaps you misread his quote. He didn't say ALL young people or "young people" in general, he said "so many" and "not just young people".

Also, he's not generalising. He's talking about his very own personal experience.

Try this on for size as a doomsday scenario.

Assume the NFL comes to Toronto, and the Argos are on life support.

Then, move the Argos to, say, Ottawa; award an expansion team to Quebec City or Halifax, then you have in the West BC, Edmonton, Calgary, Saskatchewan, and Winnipeg; in the East Hamilton, Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec and/or Halifax.

I have a suspicion that the CFL could survive and thrive on that basis. Cut Toronto loose if they are so enamoured with the NFL game.

Just a thought............