The Buffalo Bills played their sixth ever regular season game in Toronto this past Sunday, dropping a 34-31 overtime decision to the Atlanta Falcons to fall to 1-5 all-time in meaningful games played north of the border. Team President and CEO Russ Brandon appeared on WGR 550's The Howard Simon Show on Wednesday morning, and told the show's titular host that he'll be reviewing the Toronto series moving forward.
"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 Wednesday in response to Simon's question involving being competitive in Toronto. "We’ve had great growth in the Southern Ontario marketplace over the last five years back here at Ralph Wilson Stadium. That has been a big positive. It has been a challenged market there, and certainly has not translated into enough wins for us there. As I mentioned, like I said almost a year ago, we’re going to look at everything, and this will be within something I look at."
Brandon expanded on the benefits of the Toronto series from a business perspective, but intimated that the review of the series could focus more on the competitive aspects of it.
"Look at it from the standpoint of where we’ve been this year on the ticket side. We’ve taken a game out of the market, which essentially is taking 70,000 seats out of the market, and have truly only sold out two of our home games," Brandon explained. "We’ve manufactured sellouts in the other four. We’re trying to find ways to obviously keep this team viable, which we’ve done a very good job at, and this series has obviously contributed to that. With that being said, nothing comes above winning, to your point. When I took over the reins on January 1, I said that is the number one focus, and that will be the number one focus. And that’s one of the reasons that this will be reviewed in a grand manner."
Simon then pressed Brandon on what the review would entail, and whether or not the team would be able to back out of the series (they've just completed the first of a five-year extension of the series signed late last year). Brandon dodged those questions, re-affirming his commitment to the review process.
"I’m going to look at everything, Howard. I’ll just leave it to you at that," Brandon stated. He'd later conclude, "My focus in this organization is simple, and that is to put ourselves in a position to win championships and sustain success. Period. Nothing - nothing - comes above that."
They're interesting comments, to be certain. WGR 550 has posted the full interview online, which we recommend listening to for further context.
Brandon also reported this morning that 20,000 seats remain unsold for the team's December 22 home finale against the Miami Dolphins.