Wilson Prefers Status Quo re Bills Games in Toronto

This article on the Globe and Mail website reports that Buffalo Bills owner Ralph Wilson would prefer to continue having only one Toronto "home" game on the Bills' schedule for two or three years before considering any changes to the arrangement. Wilson also states that he wants the team to stay in Buffalo. The continued pattern of having one regular season NFL game per year in Toronto after the completion of the CFL Grey Cup Game would be just fine. Here's hoping that Mr. Wilson retains ownership of the Bills and lives for another twenty years.

[url=http://www.theglobeandmail.com/sports/football/bills-owner-in-no-hurry-to-add-games-in-toronto/article1200019/]http://www.theglobeandmail.com/sports/f ... le1200019/[/url]

Good read here from the Bills forum from someone in Rochester:

[i]My interpretation:

So, the writing is on the wall folks. The normally conservative wilson has finally came out and said it: the toronto experiment was just an attempt to make more money to keep the team in buffalo and compete against the likes of dallas and new york's new luxury, revenue producing stadiums. This is a lot different than a year and a half ago when he refused to acknowledge this fact. If you remember, when wilson was asked this same question, he dodged it, leading people to believe there was some conspiracy to move the bills to toronto when their lease ran out in 2012. Why did he hold back ? I think he believed that if he gave toronto fans the idea that this was the first step into getting a permanent bills team there, they would be more receptive to going to the games and rooting for the bills. Well, as we all know, it was a miserable failure.

A lot of it had to do with the prices, and a lot of it had to do with jp losman starting a meaningless game in mid-december, but in the end, nobody can call it a success last year. Rodgers lost money and the city of toronto did not show that it could support a team. Now, for some reason, toronto wants a second game. Even ralph, who definitely likes the money isn't sure if a) he would give up any more games and b) if he will even renew this deal when it expires.

Why is this?

Could it be that the toronto experiment succeeded? Just like a decade earlier when the bills brought training camp to rochester and saw their season ticket sales spike up exponentially by finally officially making the city of rochester and its 1M residents "buffalo bills country".... could it be that after hte 5 year leasing of games to the city of toronto, and finally, offically making toronto "buffalo bills country"... the bills will be able to build a new stadium and get corporate support and fans from toronto, buffalo and rochester???

This is what I think, and the fact that a "significant increase in canadian based fans purchasing season tickets this year" confirms at least half of it. The next step is the corporate support.

So, what is toronto's best bet at the nfl? Honestly, i could see a new stadium being built in downtown buffalo or niagara falls in 2012. At this point, toronto willl probably not be getting a team ever. Their only hope would be to get involved with a london-type of series... (1 game a year with a neutral home team playing a different visiting team). Even that is questionable. The stadium in london is a masterpiece; the stadium in toronto is a dump by 2008 standards; what is the sports environment going to be like in 2012? No way toronto is going to build an nfl stadium for the argos and 1 nfl game a year. And if the bills have a state of the art stadium with corporate support from toronto, buffalo and rochester, it won't even need to lease a game anymore. It will have effectively increased its fan base to the point where it could draw fans from a population base of 7M people, 90 minutes east and west of its city limits.

You can disagree with me if you want, but this is my take on this situation. By 2012, toronto will just be a larger rochester that goes to bills games by the hundreds. A new stadium (similar to lucas oil field, NOT the new giants stadium/cowboys stadium) is coming. Don't worry about it getting paid for; our politicians will make it happen. Some how, some way they will. They will raise sales taxes or something for a few years. In the end, this toronto experiment will be ralph's legacy; he kept the bills in buffalo with it. he showed a small market team can compete with the biggest cities in the world with a little bit of heart and a little bit of marketing.[/i]