So I decided to wait a few days before submitting this post for a couple of reasons. The first, I wanted the storm of negativity around the decision from fellow members of the Bills Mafia to settle a bit. I also wanted to take a couple of days to see if I still felt that this was a good idea moving forward. Before you start throwing eggs at my profile picture on your computer screen, please let me explain.
And I will preface this by saying again that I am OK with the renewal. I’m not saying it is the best thing for the team, I’m not calling it a home game, and I would much rather see the Bills playing in Orchard Park for 8 games a season as opposed to 7. But from a marketing and regionalization perspective the move makes sense.
– Regionalization – For the Bills to remain successful financially, the fanbase needs to grow beyond Western New York. Toronto provides an incredible alternative based on a population base in excess of 2.6 million. If Toronto was in the United States, it would be the fourth largest city, behind only New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. While the Bills have been successful in embracing the Rochester community, the team has identified a larger target, and taken steps to keep them in the fold to increase the regional footprint in a big way. This regionalization will not take place overnight, but I can respect the effort to engage the city of Toronto moving forward.
– Developing a better product – We are all familiar with the old saying “winning cures everything”. When this is brought up related to Toronto series I have heard many say that this will only attract bandwagon fans to follow the Bills. But we have seen over time that enough of those bandwagon fans stick around in other markets. Franchises like the Cowboys, Patriots, and Steelers have all become national brands thanks to bandwagon fans. Heck, the Bills teams from the 90’s had plenty of bandwagon fans. Some have stuck with the team through the tough years, while others have dropped off. But everyone loves a winner, especially younger fans. And fringe fans. Having marketable young stars like CJ Spiller and Stevie Johnson, which the Bills now have, will help attract new fans. But ultimately putting a better product on the field will increase attendance and atmosphere at the game, and will also accelerate the regionalization process.
– Staying in Buffalo – Whenever there is talk about NFL teams relocating to Los Angeles I cringe when the Bills are discussed as an option. If the Bills were to ever leave the area I, like many, would be crushed as a fan. If playing one game in Toronto each year keeps the Bills in Buffalo, then I have to be OK with it. For me it is that plain and simple. Period.
Feel free to use the comments section below to share your comments, vent your frustrations, or maybe even agree with some of these points.