Bills won't play game in Toronto in 2014

Tom Szczerbowski

The team has called the move a one-year postponement, but it could mark the beginning of the end for a series that has been plagued by poor ticket sales and criticism from home-town fans.

Fed up with poor ticket sales and lukewarm support, the Buffalo Bills have announced they will not play their annual game in Toronto during the 2014 season, according to The Buffalo News.

The Bills, who have played one game north of the border at the Rogers Centre for the last six years, will instead play all eight of their home regular-season contests at Ralph Wilson Stadium.

The official word from team president Russ Brandon is that the series, which is scheduled to run through 2017, has been postponed for one year. The Bills began playing in Toronto once a year in 2008 after agreeing to a five-year partnership with Canadian telecommunications giant Rogers, and agreed to a five-year extension in 2013.

The idea behind the series is to foster the team's fan base in nearby Canada, but the Canucks' reception has been lukewarm. The Bills were 12,000 tickets short of a sellout during the 2013 game, an overtime loss to the Atlanta Falcons that dropped Buffalo's record in Toronto to 1-5 since 2008. The move hasn't been any more popular in Buffalo, where some fans contend the team is selling away the competitive advantage of playing at home for a quick buck. Instead of a rowdy home-field advantage, the 2013 game was nearly equal parts Falcons fans.

Brandon referred to the Falcons game as a "setback" while speaking to WGR 550 on Wednesday morning.

Brandon announced that the team plans to use the one-year postponement "to collectively evaluate opportunities to enhance future games," though Buffalo Rumblings warns this could be a preemptive strike to end the series altogether.

While the series is currently only on hiatus, it's a significant step for the organization after finalizing a five-year extension to the series just last year. Brandon's diplomacy was unsurprising, but let's not forget that Tim Graham of The Buffalo News has a source telling him that Brandon would allow the series to continue "over his dead body."

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