T.O. games get okayed

Bills running back Marshawn Lynch, who came up to Toronto last October, will now be making the trip...

Bills running back Marshawn Lynch, who came up to Toronto last October, will now be making the trip annually. (SUN MEDIA/Greg Henkenhaf)

ROB LONGLEY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:52 AM ET

PHOENIX -- It appears NFL commissioner Roger Goodell's state of the league address tomorrow is going to have a treat for Toronto football fans.

An official from another AFC team confirmed that the league has rubber-stamped Buffalo Bills owner Ralph Wilson's initiative to bring games to Toronto and Goodell will unveil the details at the Phoenix Convention Center today.

The plan, widely reported this past fall, is now reality and will include eight games -- five regular season and three pre-season -- that will take place at the Rogers Centre over the next five seasons.

It is believed that the Argos and Hamilton Tiger-Cats will be involved in the process, at least initially to help calm concerns that any NFL foray into Southern Ontario will damage the CFL.

The most likely scenario will see the regular-season game taking place in December, which will address two concerns. December games don't always sell out in Buffalo because of weather concerns and since the CFL season will be long finished, it won't conflict with sales efforts by the Argos and Ticats.

BIG BUCKS UPFRONT?

The source contacted by Sun Media wouldn't confirm ticket prices or distribution but The Fan 590 last night reported that tickets would be dispersed by a lottery format that would include Toronto and Hamilton season-ticket subscribers.

The all-sports station also speculated that tickets would average out at $250 and that fans would have to buy the entire multi-year package and pay for them upfront.

Potential involvement of the CFL likely is a result of league commissioner Mark Cohon's persistent contact with his NFL counterpart, Goodell. Cohon has maintained that any NFL presence in Canada's biggest marketplace would have severe repercussions to the two CFL teams in the market.

The Bills, meanwhile, have made it clear that staking claim to the Southern Ontario region is necessary their long-term survival.

-- with files from Canadian Press


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