Many tickets still remain for Toronto Series

Fourteen thousand VIP tickets still remain for the first three games of the eight-game Toronto Series. High prices have no doubt scared many fans off. Still, the games are bringing in loads of dough...

It was billed as the hottest ticket in town.

But still, many tickets remain for the Bills' first three games in the Toronto Series.

Mainly, because those in charge want to press the fifth largest market in North America to the limit.

Officials for Rogers Communication reported last week that in those first three games, more than 90 percent of the 40,000 general seats have been sold. Just a hair over half of the VIP packages have been sold, with 14,000 of those still available for sale.

"We're really pleased with the way it's moved," said Adrian Montgomery, director of football operations. "Obviously, we wanted to put the registration program forward to give football fans the first chance at the best tickets. And we're thrilled with the number of tickets they've purchased, particularly since, to this point, we've only offered them on a multi-game, multi-year basis."

The sale campaign began two months ago, but there still remain 11,000 unsold tickets for the first three games. Yet as the Buffalo News pointed out, the Toronto games (even with this many empty seats) are bringing in much more money than games at Ralph Wilson Stadium per game. Given the ticket sales to date, the Toronto games will bring in an estimated $9 million per contest. Games at The Ralph typically bring in $3 million a pop.

In other words, don't expect Rogers Communications to drop the sale price. They're pushing the limit to see how many bites they get - and so far it's working (even with so many tickets still out there for the takings).

And "pricy" is an understatement.

General seating tickets cost $183 per ticket - double the amount of the highest-priced ticket n the NFL last season (New England).

VIP seats - lower bowl and club seating - cost between $350 and $575 per ticket.

"There are still some seats, but even when this thing is sold out to the brim, we'll still continue to promote it," said Phil Lind, Rogers vice chairman. "There's a promotion schedule, and we're doing this not just for the 50,000 at the game, but because we want to hype the interest throughout all of Toronto."

Rogers reps do not have any doubts that the Bills-Dolphins regular season game this season will sell out.

What do the Bills get in all of this? Over the eight-game series, the team will receive $78 million in payout ($9.75 million per game).

Analysis

The Toronto Series' main purpose is tapping into a major source of revenue for all parties involved.

While many seats are still left empty, it sure is achieving this.

The higher-ups at Rogers have treated the 50,000 total seats as 'get em while they're hot' Willy Wonka-ish golden tickets.

The prices to the games are outlandish and everyone knows it. But still, this is such a chic attraction in Toronto that many high-rolling sports fans are taking the bait. As the infamous website billsintoronto.com use to say, the games are meant to appeal to "high class" fan.

Martini, please, m'am. M'am? (cheering) Oh, did we just score a touchdown? Darn it, I missed it. Oh well. Martini, m'am?

After two months, the main flow of ticket-buyers for the game has probably passed. Rogers will have to do some major schmoozing campaigning to lure some suckers into cleaning up the rest of the tickets (Of course wins and a playoff push would help).

Down the road in future games, Rogers will probably lower the price gradually to more reasonable standards.

For now, they're content with the $183 general seat price - a barometer StubHub and Ebay rarely sniffs for NFL games.

But isn't it a really odd possible sight? These games are pumping in more money than The Ralph ever dreamed off, yet could be dotted with empty seats.

Doesn't seem like a pure football fan base to me.

Then again, money talks.


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