Buffalo Bills to Continue Toronto Games Through 2017

Buffalo Bills Seattle Seahwaks - H 2013
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Buffalo Bills Seattle Seahwaks - H 2013

The NFL team renewed a five-year deal with media giant Rogers Communications to feature one regular-season matchup a year in Toronto.

TORONTO — The Buffalo Bills will continue driving up the road to play a home game each year in Toronto after the NFL team’s deal with Canadian media giant Rogers Communications was renewed Tuesday.

The five-year agreement, to run through 2017, will see the Bills cross Lake Ontario to play one regular-season game annually and a preseason game in 2015. Rogers will continue to market and sell tickets to the matchups at Rogers Centre.

Buffalo’s long playoff drought — the Bills haven’t qualified since the 1999 season — hasn’t helped ticket sales in Toronto, with none of the team’s previous five regular-season games at Rogers Centre selling out.

That said, the extension comes amid speculation that Rogers, which holds minority stakes in the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs and the NBA’s Toronto Raptors, covets bringing the first NFL franchise to Canada.

“We are ambassadors of the NFL and are continually assessing the market to bring that true NFL experience to Canadians,” Rogers Media president Keith Pelley said Tuesday.

“We created a benchmark for our game last season with a first-rate pregame festival and halftime show and look forward to building on that over the next five years,” he added, recalling the Bills’ matchup with the Seattle Seahawks in December.