|Lind open to Bills playing more games in Toronto|
|Written by Admin|
|Friday, 05 December 2008 13:46|
``Depending on the arrangements, I wouldn't mind one more game here,'' Rogers Communications vice chairman Phil Lind told The Associated Press on Friday. ``Especially if the NFL's going to nuke two of their preseasons game, I would think for certain we would have one of those games.''
Lind was referring to preliminary discussions within the NFL of adding one or two more games to the 16-game regular season by shortening the preseason. That proposal, though, is in limbo until the league negotiates a new collective bargaining agreement with the NFL Players Association.
Lind also continued to allay fears his company is intent on purchasing the Bills and relocating them to Toronto. He instead suggested the Bills could become a true two-city entity, an arrangement that would secure the team's long-term financial viability in the region and end speculation of the franchise being a candidate for relocation.
``If we can devise a scheme whereby the Bills can get more revenue for a season, that may even mean another game or so here, I don't know. But if we can devise that scheme and still keep the team in Buffalo and keep the whole thing in this area, I think that's a win-win, far better than the whole darn thing moving to L.A.''
Lind spoke as the Bills (6-6) prepare for their first of five annual regular-season games in Toronto on Sunday, when they host Miami (7-5). In securing a deal with Rogers Communications, the Bills will be paid $78 million to effectively lease eight games - including three preseason - through 2012 and become the NFL's first franchise to play annual regular-season games outside the United States.
The Bills were not immediately available for comment and have never publicly mentioned increasing the number of games played in Toronto.
One thing is clear: The Bills are counting on the series to help generate additional revenue and corporate sponsorships by expanding their market into Canada's largest city and financial capital, which is a two-hour drive from Buffalo.
Toronto organizers are intent on showcasing their city as a viable host for an NFL team.
Lind said the series will move forward and Rogers Communications' interest in the NFL will continue despite the company founder's death.
The Bills' future is secure in Buffalo under owner Ralph Wilson, who turned 90 in October. What's not clear is what happens to the team after he dies. With his family not interested in taking over the franchise, Wilson has said the team will be sold on the open market, leading to the possibility of the Bills relocating.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has previously said he supports keeping the Bills viable in Buffalo, so long as they continue to generate fan support. And Goodell has sidestepped questions whether the league is interested in having a team in Toronto by noting the NFL's first priority is re-establishing a franchise in Los Angeles.
Lind is confident the Bills have Goodell's support, especially because the commissioner has roots in western New York.
``Roger has a tremendous affinity for Buffalo. And Roger would be highly loathe to see a team move from Buffalo,'' Lind said.