Toronto’s 2014 Buffalo Bills home game is cancelled; Buffalo fans celebrate

Toronto’s 2014 Buffalo Bills home game is cancelled; Buffalo fans celebrate

The Bills play the Miami Dolphins at Rogers Centre in 2008. (Image: gbalogh) The Bills play the Miami Dolphins at Rogers Centre in 2008. (Image: gbalogh)
 

The annual Buffalo Bills “home game” at Rogers Centre has been a reliable source of easy money for the team and a treat for Torontonian football fans who normally have to content themselves with CFL games, but it’s hardly surprising that news of the 2014 game’s cancellation has Buffalonians cheering. The Buffalo News is already calling the move “all kinds of good news for Bills fans.”

Although the Toronto games have benefited the team by netting it tens of millions of dollars in payments from Rogers, they’re controversial among fans who believe moving a precious home game away from the Bills’ actual home stadium sacrifices precious “home-field advantage,” especially in colder months when the winter-ready Bills would otherwise be playing outdoors. It’s true, at least, that the Bills’ record at Rogers Stadium hasn’t been stellar; the team has won one out of its six regular-season games in Toronto since the Rogers deal was struck in 2008. Also, attendance hasn’t met expectations, with last year’s game drawing a crowd of 38,969—about 7,500 short of capacity. “Rogers Centre had the energy of a morgue but with fewer people,” is how the Buffalo News puts it.

The Buffalo press may be thrilled, but Toronto sports writers seem nonplussed. The Sun’s account of the cancellation emphasizes the fact that the Rogers Centre deal calls for four more games, and that sources say the series will resume in 2015.