NFL’s Buffalo Bills suspend play in Toronto next season

TORONTO – The National Football League’s Buffalo Bills have cancelled its annual game in Toronto for the 2014 season.

A joint statement released by Bills President Russ Brandon and Rogers Media President Keith Pelley said the postponement will allow both sides to work on enhancing future games.

“The Buffalo Bills and Rogers are committed to delivering a first-class NFL experience to Canadians. As such, we have postponed for one year the scheduled 2014 regular season game at Rogers Centre in Toronto, and that game will return to Ralph Wilson Stadium,” the statement read.

The decision comes a little more than a year after the two agreed to renew the series for five years, though 2017, after the original five-year deal expired.

Questions were raised regarding the series’ future after the Bills 34-31 overtime loss to Atlanta at Toronto on Dec. 1, which attracted a crowd of just 38,969.

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Following the game, Bills president Russ Brandon questioned whether his team loses a home-field advantage by playing in Toronto.

Councillor Doug Ford expressed his disappointment with the announcement while speaking to reporters Wednesday.

“We love the CFL and if an NFL team comes then that’s an added bonus,” Ford said. “We look forward one day to getting an NFL team here.”

The Bills are 1-5 since the Toronto series began.

The team pledged it will continue a sponsorship agreement with Rogers Media to “bring Canadian NFL fans visibility and access to the Bills.”

The deal includes ticketing, merchandising, media exposure, and a newly created Canada House, near Ralph Wilson Stadium.

-with a file from The Canadian Press