Attendance at Buffalo Bisons (Class AAA; International League) games is down some 1,600 fans per game in two years. Could a new affiliation with the Toronto Blue Jays give the franchise some needed life?
Buffalo, in the past, has been a great baseball town, with the team ending the 1990s with 9,000 or so season-ticket holders and attendance in excess of 10,000 fans per game. Since then the numbers have been in a gradual decline, from 8,027 fans a game in 2009 and just 6,659 fan a game this season. Can’t blame the weather — which has been good — and can’t blame the ballpark — the 25th anniversary of Coca-Cola Field highlighted what a gem the ballpark is — and can’t blame circumstances, as the hosting of the Triple-A All-Star Game has kept the team in the news.
With the Toronto Blue Jays logically seeking a new affiliate in the International League to replace the franchise’s current top farm team, the Las Vegas 51s (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League), a switch to the Bisons would make sense on so many levels (player movement, scouting, marketing) for both teams. For the Blue Jays, being able to market to a large population base so close to Rogers Centre would surely add to the bottom line. For the Bisons, being able to market to Canadian cities with a Blue Jays angle would surely add to the bottom line as well. Technically, neither side can discuss a new affiliation while the existing affiliations are in place. But with so many whispers in MiLB that some level of talks are inevitable, don’t be surprised if the two end up in a deal — which could begin a domino effect of Triple-A shifts, as the New York Mets would need to begin the process of seeking a new top farm team.
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