Buffalo Bills won't play in Toronto in 2014, per report

Tom Szczerbowski

We're still not quite sure what to expect regarding the future of the Bills in Toronto Series, but The Buffalo News is reporting that, at minimum, the Bills won't play a home game north of the border in 2014.

The future of the Buffalo Bills in Toronto Series remains up in the air, but at minimum, it is going on hiatus: Mark Gaughan of The Buffalo News reports that the Bills are expected to announce that this year's scheduled Toronto game will be moved back to Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park. WGR 550 has separately confirmed the report.

Gaughan's report leaves in doubt what that might mean for the future of the Toronto series, speculating that it could just mean a one-year pause in the five-year deal that is scheduled to run from 2013-17. One would expect that if and when the Bills do make an official announcement, more will be learned on that front.

But at minimum, it's looking like the 2014 Bills won't need a passport to play a home game this year - and that Bills season ticket holders will be paying for eight games instead of seven. The report also does not set an expected timeline for an announcement, though given that annual season ticket renewal deadlines occur right around this time of year, it's not likely to take long for the team to move.

Tim Graham at The News chimed in on the news as well, reporting that team president Russ Brandon has been working for months to convince everyone at One Bills Drive that moving on from the Toronto series is in the organization's best interests. These two passages from his report are particularly revealing:

A source with knowledge of the negotiations told The Buffalo News that skipping a game in Toronto was not an easy sell for everyone at One Bills Drive, but team President Russ Brandon and coach Doug Marrone won them over.
Even before last season was over, Brandon privately told people the Bills in Toronto series would continue over his dead body.

The News originally reported earlier this week that the series was not pulling in much more money per game than the Bills typically make in one game in Orchard Park.

We'll have more as we see it. For now, plan your budgets accordingly; it's looking like Bills fans will have an extra home game to sell out this year.

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