The Buffalo Bills are coming to Toronto.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell announced Friday the league has reached an agreement with the Bills that paves the way for the team to play eight games — five regular-season contests and three exhibition games — in Toronto over the next five years.
The Buffalo Bills' home field is Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, N.Y.
(Mike Groll/Associated Press)
Goodell said the Bills will play one regular-season game in Toronto in each of the next five years, with exhibition games played every other year.
"Earlier this week we completed our process, due diligence on the proposal for the Buffalo Bills to play a limited number of games in Toronto over the next five years," Goodell said at his annual state-of-the-league news conference prior to the Super Bowl. "I think it was done very thoughtfully, I think it was done to help regionalize the team even broader than it has.
"They [Bills] have a tremendous amount of interest north into Canada, into the Toronto-Hamilton area and I think this will be great for all fans because I think it will give the opportunity for the people of Toronto to have a game in their market and it will also give Buffalo Bills fans a chance to go to that game."
Goodell didn't say exactly when the games will be staged in Toronto, but it's believed the regular-season contests will take place in December, so as to avoid a scheduling conflict with the CFL's Toronto Argonauts who also use the Rogers Centre.
Season-ticket holders of the Argos and Hamilton Tiger-Cats, along with the Bills, will be given first crack at purchasing tickets for the games.
The Bills have been seeking to expand into the southern Ontario market, which has a fan base of more than five million people compared to 1.25 million in western New York.
An estimated 10,000 to 15,000 Canadians attend each Bills home game at Ralph Wilson Stadium, which has a seating capacity of 73,967.With files from Canadian Press