As the Bills announced plans Tuesday for a five-year extension of their plan to play games in Toronto, they pointed to successes off the field in building their brand in Toronto over the last five years.
Bills President and CEO Russ Brandon told a news conference at the Rogers Centre the franchise is already reaping the benefits of the just-completed Bills in Toronto series.
“Southern Ontario is now our number-two sister market when it comes to fans in Ralph Wilson Stadium on Sunday,” Brandon said. And he says ticket sales to Bills fans from Southern Ontario have doubled, over the first five years of the Bills in Toronto series.
“When we embarked on this, one of our plans was to make sure that we had more fans come from Southern Ontario back to Ralph Wilson Stadium.,” the Bills President said. “In five years, we have seen that growth go from 11-percent of our fan base from the Greater Toronto Area, to over 20-percent. So it has certainly worked for us back at Ralph Wilson Stadium.”
The President of Rogers Media, Keith Pelley, says the Bills have taken the first big steps toward stoking fan interest in the team and the NFL in the Toronto market.
“The appetite for the National Football league, the appetite for the Buffalo Bills is here in Toronto. We’re excited to be able to extend the five year deal today,” Pelley said.
The Bills new five year deal with Rogers Media includes five regular season games and one preseason game from 2013 to 2017. And the Bills say extension of their brand into Toronto, the fifth largest market in North America, is critical to their future success in Buffalo.
“We by no means, try to replicate the experience at Ralph Wilson Stadium here at the Rogers Centre. We have 55-years of tradition in Buffalo and in Orchard Park, we have five years of tradition here in Toronto,” Brandon said.
“But it is very important to our organization, moving forward in today’s NFL, that we regionalize our brand. Ten years ago, we went East and moved our training camp to Rochester, and we reaped the benefits of that. We’re like many other businesses in Buffalo, especially in the entertainment industry, in the tourism industry—Southern Ontario and Toronto are very important to our businesses.”
Tags: Bills in Toronto, Keith Pelley, Rogers Centre, Russ Brandon
Posted in Inside the Bills
The Bills in Toronto series has been extended for another five years, with five regular season games and one preseason game part of the agreement announced today at the Rogers Centre.
And the Bills made no bones about it. Part of the key to their success with the Toronto series is to put a better product on the field.
“Our commitment is that we have to bring a winning product to the field,” Bills President and CEO Russ Brandon told reporters in Toronto Tuesday, at a news conference announcing the agreement. “That’s where we have fallen down in this series. We talk about the atmosphere last year and it was not exactly conducive to what we want to build upon, but the reason for that was, we didn’t play good football—plain and simple.”
The Bills have only won one of the five regular season games they’ve played in the first five years of the Toronto series, the 2011 victory over the Washington Redskins.
Brandon says more wins in Toronto, and in Buffalo and elsehwere in the NFL, will mean more success for the Toronto series, as the franchise tries to extend its’ brand to the vast population center of Southern Ontario.
“From our standpoint, we need to win more,” Brandon said. ” We need a better on-field performance to turn people who are fans of the NFL, not particularly Bills fans, into Bills fans. We have a great segment of avid Bills fans here and over the last five years, we’ve won one game out of five. We need to turn that tide. And we’re committed to doing that.”
Tags: Bills in Toronto, Rogers Centre, Russ Brandon
Posted in Inside the Bills