August 15, 2008

The NFL in Canada

by Dan Bilicki In: Football

After months of talking about it, it finally happened: The Pittsburgh Steelers vs. The Buffalo Bills at the Rogers Centre in Toronto. Sure, it was just a preseason game, but this was a huge step towards ridding Western New York of their football team to a more profitable market. I’m sure the Bills faithful will hate that sentence but they know that it’s true.

Bills season ticket sales may have sky-rocketed this season amid rumours of their imminent departure but how come these people weren’t coming out the past few seasons? If they were true fans, how come they weren’t filling the seats of Ralph Wilson Stadium two seasons ago when the Bills failed to sell out four home games? The team may have been worse than this installment but why should the team stay with that amount of fair-weather fans around?

In Toronto, which happens to be the fifth largest market in North America, there is already an existing stadium that proved last night that it can hold a “capacity” NFL crowd and also has the roadways capable of absorbing the influx of extra tourism. Sure the Rogers Centre may lack the ambience and feel that NFL stadiums do (judging by fan reaction of the game) but at least it’s in the centre of the centre, not 30 minutes — without traffic! — away. If you’ve ever been out to Orchard Park, you know the hassle that you must endure getting to and from the stadium to wherever you might be going.

The Bills ended up pulling out the win over Pittsburgh and while it was a meaningless preseason tilt, it could be a window into the future of NFL in Toronto. The 48,434 people there watching, I’ll bet, will be a far superior number than that of who turn out for the Toronto Argonauts vs. Montreal Alouettes tonight in CFL action. Let’s face it: The NFL in Toronto will be a hit and I can’t wait to see what happens when the Dolphins come to visit the Bills in regular season action this year. Further, I can’t wait to see the Bills play all eight regular season games in Toronto — something I believe will surely happen in the not-too-distant future.

The Toronto Bills, doesn’t have that great of a ring to it, but I can deal.

7 Comments

  1. [...] Bills News » News The NFL in Canada2008-08-15 03:00:06Centre in Toronto. Sure, it was a more profitable market. I’m sure the Rogers [...]

  2. [...] Steelers News » News The NFL in Canada2008-08-15 03:11:08Talking in Toronto. Sure, it was a huge step towards ridding Western New York of [...]

  3. I don’t think the city of Toronto can accommodate for that true NFL atmosphere what with the lack of tailgate parties and the $6 per beer prices. I also wouldn’t count selling out each home game at the Rogers Center with those ticket prices ($100 for the nosebleeds I believe).

    Sure you might say the Leafs do it…but there isn’t a “Bills Nation” here in the city.

  4. [...] Steelers News » News The NFL in Canada2008-08-16 04:42:36Talking in Toronto. Sure, it was a huge step towards ridding Western New York of [...]

  5. The whole NFL experience are the tailgate parties and pre-game hype. Toronto needs to loosen up a bit and enjoy the experience, not some contrived corporate sponsored “tailgate” party. Let the fans be fans.

  6. [...] Steelers News » News The NFL in Canada2008-08-17 00:55:22Talking in Toronto. Sure, it was a huge step towards ridding Western New York of [...]

  7. [...] Steelers News » News The NFL in Canada2008-08-18 02:24:13Talking in Toronto. Sure, it was a huge step towards ridding Western New York of [...]

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