Toronto wants a piece of the NFL action. The fourth-largest market in North America has hosted a Buffalo Bills game for the last three years and now wants the gig full time. Toronto Mayor Rob Ford says he wants to lure an NFL franchise to Toronto and with the NFL’s recent success in Europe and Canada it could very well happen soon.
My guess is that a team will be placed in L.A. by expansion or move before Toronto but on a larger time line the expansion of the NFL in inevitable and foreign territories are prime locations.
Another bump in the road is a suitable stadium. Currently the retractable Rogers Centre is where the Bills and the CFL’s Argonauts play ball. The capacity for the CFL games are 31,074 but expandable to 54,000 for larger events like the CFL Championship or an NFL game.
In 2010, 3 NFL teams averaged less than 54,000 fans. St. Louis, Oakland and Tampa Bay all missed that mark despite the Bucs having a winning season and just missing the playoffs.
The NFL games held in Toronto have seen a slight decline in attendance. Ticket prices and a poor team to watch, Buffalo, have not helped the situation but does shed a good light on how Toronto would support a team that is a winner or a loser.
Rogers Centre Toronto Argonauts Attendance (2002-07)
2002 – 20,539
2003 – 15,083
2004 – 25,813
2005 – 30,196
2006 – 29,677
2007 – 30,931
Rogers Centre American football Attendance (2008-10)
2008 – 48,434 (Preseason game)
2008 – 52,134
2009 – 51,567
2008 – 39,583 (Preseason game)
2010 – 50,746