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UPDATE: Buffalo Bills cast doubt on future of games in Toronto

CEO Russ Brandon is 'reviewing' the future of the Bills in Toronto Series just months after renewing the contract

The Buffalo Bills take the field at Ralph Wilson Stadium
Photo: CTV News

The CEO of the Buffalo Bills has cast doubt on the future of the NFL team's games in Toronto.

On his weekly radio show on Buffalo's WGR 550 Radio, Russ Brandon said he is 'reviewing' the annual 'Bills in Toronto Series.'

"There's a full evaluation that will take place on all of our business relative to what this series means and I'm going to look at it very closely," Brandon said.

The team has played one game at Rogers Centre each season since 2008.

LISTEN: Buffalo Bills CEO casts doubt on annual game in Toronto (Courtesy of WGR 550 Radio)

The news comes just days after the Bills lost to the lowly Atlanta Falcons in front of a record-low Toronto crowd on Sunday, the club's fifth loss in the six regular season games it has played in Canada.

It is also a little over a week after reports surfaced that rocker Jon Bon Jovi is backing a possible push that would see the Bills move to Toronto for good.

Toronto city councillor Michael Thompson, who is also the Chair of City Hall's Economic Development Committee, says the yearly NFL game brings about $1.5 million tourism dollars into the city annually, and is worth about $500,000 to the provincial government.

He calls the event 'more of a novelty' and considers it to be 'not a significant revenue generator' for the city.

"Sports is a business, so (the Bills) have to look at the bottom line and it has to make economic sense for everybody," he says.

Thompson is a die-hard supporter of both the National and Canadian Football Leagues and believes Toronto is a fully capable of supporting its own NFL team.

He wonders if ticket sales to the Bills in Toronto Series would be better if the team won more than it lost.

"I think if the Bills were playing maybe half-a-dozen games here (in Toronto), I think you'd probably see a lot more support and a sense of loyalty to the team and I think that's not the case at this point," he says.

There is a significant complicating factor if the Bills eventually decide to call off their northern expeditions.

In January, the Bills signed a 5-year contract extension with Rogers Media that will see Buffalo play one regular season game in Toronto for the next 5 years and one exhibition game in 2015.

When pressed on how big of an obstacle that commitment might be, Brandon said on his radio show that he is "looking into everything,' and that he would 'leave it at that.'

NEWSTALK 1010 reached out to Brandon for comment but was talk that he will not be speaking to reporters on Wednesday.

Calls to officials at Rogers Media were not immediately returned.

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  1. Frankie posted on 12/04/2013 12:38 PM
    The games have never sold out. Imagine if they built an NFL stadium with an additional 20,000 seats (empty of course). That's a major reason why we won't see an NFL team in the foreseeable future
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