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Buffalo Bills Need To Rethink The Bills Toronto Series

Matt Warren is Associate Director of NFL coverage for SB Nation and previously covered the Bills for Buffalo Rumblings for more than a decade.

The Buffalo Bills have been playing football in Toronto since 2008. With the lease scheduled to run out following the 2012 season, Rogers Communications and the team may be looking for a new deal that could increase the presence of the Bills up north - and I, for one, think it could only help the series.

I know this is going to sound controversial. "We don't like the series at all, and now we're going to give them more?" I hear Bills fans saying. That's not what I am advocating. Hear me out.

The reason most see the Bills Toronto Series as a failure is a mixture of buzz in the city, attendance, and fan support. Adding a second Bills regular season Bills game in Toronto would affect each and every one of those shortcomings.

When the Bills played the Chicago Bears in Toronto during the 2010 season, many commentators mentioned that there were as many - if not more - Bears jerseys in the crowd. If it's a home game for the Bills, there should be, you know, more Bills supporters in the crowd. The problem with that is Toronto fans see two teams once a year and don't get attached to either, instead rooting for legacy as much as the current team. Giving Canadian fans another chance to see the Bills in a season would make the Bills even more of a home team, and perhaps give the boys in red, white, and blue more of a rooting section.

This move would not be popular in Buffalo, however. Bills fans are already mad that one game a year is outsourced; would two alienate them? The point is it wouldn't matter - the team currently makes more money off one game in Toronto than they ever could with one in Ralph Wilson Stadium. The five regular season and three preseason games went for about $78 million American. For the record, Forbes reported the team's total operating income at $28.2 million in 2010. Broken down, that's about $4 million per game, as opposed to about $12.5 million per Toronto regular season game.

I believe that keeping the BTS as it is now, with one regular season game per year and a preseason game every other year, would continue to dog the entire series if a new deal is signed. The Bills need to go one way or the other - forgo the money grab and stay in Orchard Park for eight games a year, or add a second Toronto game to garner more support North of the border.