Thursday, July 03, 2008

Oh yeah...well...TAKE THAT!

Somehow the news that the Toronto Raptors may be considering playing some games at Buffalo’s HSBC Arena doesn’t seem as ominous as the Bills to Toronto stuff does (not that the Bills are ever relocating to Toronto).

No, in this case it just seems like a sensible marketing exercise. Despite being the closest NBA and MLB team to Buffalo the Raptors and the Jays have never really succeeded in attracting many fans from Western New York and a little outreach by the Raps seems to make sense (The city’s baseball heroes should take note - trying to sell Jays tickets to Buffalo-based baseball fans would likely be a better long-term growth strategy than packing the Dome with Red Sox idiots fans is).

Then again as a day one Raptors guy ($10 Shoppers seats in the 500s baby!), I’m not laying at wake at night fearing that the moving trucks are going to back up to the ACC and take Chris Bosh and company 100km south.

Not that the Bills are ever relocating to Toronto.


krister said...

whoa - talk about flashback city when I opened the blog and saw the Buffalo Braves logo. When I came to Canada in 74 I had seasons tickets to the Braves for their games at Maple Leaf Gardens. Bob McAdoo, Ernie D, and the boys. Lots of fun to travel in from Waterloo for the games. NBA has certainly lost its shine for me since then but the logo here brought back some fun memories.

sager said...

The Jays do sell a lot of tickets to people from Buffalo -- when the Yankees come to town.

Tyler King said...

"the Jays have never really succeeded in attracting many fans from Western New York "

WHAT?! That is *by far* the #1 foreign market for Jays tickets. Why do you think the Dome's only sold out for Yankee games?

Duane Rollins said...


Do yo have to be so damn literal.

the Raptors and the Jays have never really succeeded in attracting many fans from Western New York

They ain't Jays fans coming up for those Yankee series.

My point is that the Jays should be trying to attract new fans rather than looking for cash grabs from popular opponents.

sager said...

The Dome? You mean the Cable Box?

Mike said...

Buffalo is always in an interesting position when marketing their teams as generally the majority of the fans they attract are actually Canadian - mainly from the Niagara region but also a good number from Hamilton as well. The Raptors are going to do gangbusters (that's right, gangbusters!) down in Buffalo because it's such a short trip for so many in Southern Ontario (and it's, what, 2 hours from Toronto? 2 and a half tops!)

So when Buffalo teams come this way that's why it's always more of an issue then when Toronto teams go the other direction. But you're right the Raps aren't anywhere near the situation that the Bills are facing, so this really should not sign any warning flags at all! At best it'd just help increase the Raptors fanbase - even if it doesn't need the help, have you tried to buy tickets to a Raps game lately? damn!

dr said...

There are two reasons why people in Buffalo (or anywhere in Upstate New York) don't care about Toronto sports teams: A) history - most of the fans there chose the Yankees or the Mets and the Knicks as their teams a long time ago, so why would they care that there is another team two hours away in another country; B) media coverage - I'm fairly certain that Buffalonians get, as part of their basic cable, MSG, YES and SNY (at least we do in Syracuse), so they can see virtually every Yankees, Mets, Knicks and Nets game, while they never see the Raptors or Blue Jays unless they are playing one of those teams or on national TV.

Plus, if gas prices keep going up, I don't know how many people are going to drive two hours each way to see a team they don't much care about when they are having a tough time supporting the pro teams they already have. Buffalo ain't exactly a boomtown these days. I think a better long-term strategy for the Blue Jays is not sucking.

Tyler King said...

"They ain't Jays fans coming up for those Yankee series"

Actually, a lot of them are. I've met them. Not to mention you'll even hear a New York Jays fan call in every other JaysTalk or so.

But that sort of stuff has to come naturally. There's no point in running ads in foreign markets asking people to become fans of another team.

Getting fans of other teams to come to Toronto is perfectly fine too - a profitable franchise is a healthy franchise. The problem was the management prioritizing those fans over actual Jays fans.

Mike said...

So yes, still very different from the Bills situation, as they are playing regular season games in Toronto, whereas the Raps are only thinking preseason.

An exhibition game or two? Maybe.

But will the Toronto Raptors play regular-season games in Buffalo? No chance.

“We're not thinking home games. No, no, no, no. We're not giving those up,” said Richard Peddie, president of Raptors owner Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Ltd. “We have our fan base here we want to service.”

From the Globe and Mail