Tag:Rogers Centre
Posted on: August 20, 2010 6:58 pm

Bills drew few fans in Canada last night

Posted by Andy Benoit

Yesterday we highlighted the Canadian lows in the eight-game series between the Buffalo Bills and Toronto’s Rogers Centre. (In short, the Bills are reaping handsome benefits from playing in Toronto, but Rogers Communication is taking a bath due primarily to low attendance).

To follow up, Richard Griffin of the Toronto Sun writes that there were only an estimated 20,000 fans at the Rogers Centre for last night’s Bills-Colts preseason contest. The announced attendance was 39,583, but you know how those announced attendance figures go…
This, obviously, isn’t a good sign. Yes, we’re talking about a preseason game. But we’re also talking about a fan base that doesn’t get to see the Bills very often (or, for that matter, the league’s biggest star, Peyton Manning).

Griffin writes:

With both quarterback starters, Peyton Manning and Trent Edwards taking every first quarter snap, the opening 15 minutes contained enough big-play action to please the most hardened football cynic. The problem is that there was really just one quarter of real excitement out of 60 minutes. The game, even with all those points early, lacked the same buzz of sporting anticipation that the August ’08 game vs. the Steelers boasted. Expectations have disappeared that this series will ever catch on.

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Posted on: August 19, 2010 1:42 pm

Bills and Canada: hit for Bills, miss for Canada

Posted by Andy Benoit

When the Buffalo Bills take the field against the Indianapolis Colts north of the border Thursday night, the Bills’ five-year, eight-game, $78-million deal with Rogers Communication will officially be halfway over. The Canadians can only hope that the second half is more lucrative than the first.
Rogers Centre (US Presswire)
A recent Associated Press article highlights the struggles that the Rogers Centre has had with the series. Available tickets have been abundant, thanks to high prices, the economic downtown and the fact that, whether they’re playing in America or Canada, the Bills are a bad football team.

The AP writes, “Toronto Sun columnist Steve Simmons last weekend called it ‘an unmitigated disaster’ for both Toronto and Rogers Communications, which paid the Bills $78 million for the right to host the series. Richard Griffin, columnist for The Toronto Star, referred to it as ‘an epic disaster flick’ on Tuesday.”

On the other side, the Bills have no complaints. They’re making almost $10 million per game in Toronto, roughly twice what they make from a home game in Buffalo. They’ve also increased their season ticket sales to the Ontario fan base, which was the intrigue of the business deal all along. Ontario residents make up about 15 percent of season ticket-holders.

So will we see another deal between the Bills and their Toronto business partners in the future? Both sides agree it’s too early to say.
Rogers Centre vice president of events Silvio D’Addario says it isn’t all bad on their end, and that criticism in Toronto is premature.

Lessons have been learned from the first two years, and corrections – including reducing ticket prices in the 54,000-seat stadium – are on the way. And, as the AP notes, “Rogers has benefited from the games though other avenues, using its position as a league partner to land deals with the NFL and market its other media companies -- TV, radio and wireless communications.”

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