Never mind London, the Buffalo Bills are becoming less and less enchanted with the idea of playing across the border in Canada.
The Bills have an annual series going over the border in Toronto, which features the team playing at least one regular-season game at the Rogers Centre each year. The Bills’ 34-31 overtime loss to the Falcons on Sunday marked the sixth straight season that Buffalo had traveled to Canada to play a “home game,” but it seems that the organization is becoming disenchanted with the series and looking for a way out.
With waning attendance over the last two seasons, Bills CEO Russ Brandon discussed the idea of discontinuing the series going forward on Wednesday, per Canoe.ca. However, after further inspection, it seems that opting out of the international slate might be a bit harder than expected.
Brandon and the Bills signed a five-year extension to continue playing one home game a year in Toronto earlier in 2013. That deal came just months after only about 40,000 fans attended the Bills’ 50-17 beatdown at the hands of the Seahawks, too, which was a steep fall from the 51,000-plus from 2011. This season, the Bills attracted around 39,000 fans to the game, seeing a steady decline over the past two years.
The poor attendance may be due to waning interest in the sport from Canadian fans, but it could also be due to the Bills’ continued struggles over the past few seasons. The Bills have failed to finish at or above .500 since 2004, and, at 4-8 in 2013, it’s likely that streak will continue. The Bills have also had some bad luck in scheduling opponents for their Toronto game of late, getting a still unproven Seahawks team last season and a severely underachieving Falcons team this year.
At one time, the Bills seemed to be a likely candidate for a full-time move to Toronto, which instilled a sense of fear in avid Bills fans. The lack of attendance over the last two years has all but nixed that notion, but the idea of a relocation isn’t exactly out of the question, especially if the team is sold, as expected, in the near future.