Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Crystal Ball: The Toronto Bills?

Big news is that the Buffalo Bills will be playing one regular season game and two pre-season games in Toronto beginnging this year when they "host" Miami in Toronto on December 7.

Buffalo fans fear that the Bills will eventually move to Toronto. They are bitter. But Buffalo fans good news: I doubt that will happen because the CFL will fight that tooth and nail (and probably be backed by the Canadian government). Far better to work with the CFL and share games between Toronto and Buffalo. This allows the Bills to enjoy fan support in both Western New York and Ontario (where they already have some support). By playing late NFL season games in Toronto, the Bills get a huge revenue boost, the opportunity to play December home games in decent weather (Toronto has a domed stadium), and stay out of the CFL's dog house. This is because the CFL regular season ends in early November and the Grey Cup championship game is before USA's Thanksgiving.

So long as Buffalo plays half their games in Toronto (in the future) they will enjoy a huge revenue boost. They can play all of the Toronto games in November and December to maximize their weather benefits and avoid hurting the Argonauts as much as possible. The Argos are actually working with the bills on this, and co-hosting youth clinics and the like with the Bills. Check it out here. Argos season ticket holders get first shot at the very expensive bills seats too.

This split schedule worked for another small market team --the Green Bay Packers-- who play 2 games a year in Milwaukee. It should work for the Bills and actually serve the bitter Buffalo fans by ensuring the team won't move (completely) away and will stay long term in Buffalo (for half the year). Hey Bills fans: half a piece of candy is better than nothing at all.

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