The Toronto Series has been surrounded with varying levels of criticism and success. Quite often the main complaint is that the game isn’t even close to a home game for the Bills, particularly because of the varying fan affiliations in Toronto. Ticket prices were also criticized at times during the series.
There are obviously going to be steps made to attempt to bring in more Bills fans for the next five years worth of games in this series. At least I hope so. Based on the generally negative reviews that fans (even some players) have had, this will likely remain as a poorly accepted and generally bad ideas the franchise has ever had. It is also looking like it could be the best idea as well.
From 2000-2010 you might say the Bills operated as a small-market, cash-strapped franchise primarily concerned with the bottom line. So many moves that were made seemed to be geared towards trimming cash in various spots in order to make the ownership more money. Even the Toronto Series was practically cash in the pocket for Ralph Wilson.
However, after a year with varied success, the Bills have suddenly become players in the free agent market. Management made a commitment towards building a winning team this offseason and signed new faces and has also kept their best players in town. This appears to be a pledge from management that they want the Bills to be a viable, successful franchise on, and off the field. This pledge was accompanied by a fairly significant investment by Ralph Wilson. I have to wonder, were funds made with the Toronto Series allocated for some of these recent signings?
The $78 million brought in by the first five years of this agreement were a major chunk of change for a small market team that already would be flush with funds thanks to the NFL revenue sharing. Since that money just gets placed on top of any other earnings, the Bills would have been working with roughly $15 million extra ($78m divided by five years) per season since this deal began.
All things considered, you might say that additional money has now been directed towards player contracts in an indirect way. The reason I say indirect is that the Bills still are an NFL franchise and need to operate within the confines of the salary cap. It is the same situation the Sabres had over the past few years. The team earnings are X, they plan to spend Y on players but still have an adequate overall revenue of Z when all is said and done. If the money from Toronto allowed their total bottom line to stay static while committing more to salaries, this annual trip north has not gone for naught.
Maybe that is a long connection to draw on the matter of income, salaries and the franchise’s overall mission. But the pieces certainly come together nicely. Regardless of the real motivation, it is exciting to know that the Bills are serious about forming a contending roster that will win football games. Whether or not the Toronto Series played a role in this matters not. It would just bring some justification to a series of games that has done little more than strip home games away from fans in Buffalo.