The expected news came down today from Coca Cola Field – the Buffalo Bisons and the Toronto Blue Jays have extended their player development contract, now in its fourth year, for another two seasons, to expire in 2018. What was heralded as a "42 year deal" when these two teams joined together in the fall of 2012 will see the best of Toronto's prospects here in Buffalo for the next three seasons, the first of which is now underway.
"The support we’ve received from the Blue Jays’ player development and front office staffs has been everything we thought it would be and more when we began this partnership four years ago,” said Bisons Vice President/General Manager Mike Buczkowski in a press release issued by the team this afternoon. “It has truly been a partnership in every sense of the word and we’re looking forward to continued success in growing the baseball corridor from Western New York to the Greater Toronto area.”
While the lack of of a playoff berth during the Bisons' run with Toronto these past three seasons has been disappointing, nonetheless it has been a marketing success between both teams. Buffalo has attracted fans from across the border since the Blue Jays have joined up with Buffalo. Select Bisons games are simulcast on Toronto's sports station, the FAN 590, and Bisons scores and updates are announced to fans watching Toronto games at Rogers Centre. The Bisons have placed a Canadian imprint on the entire Coca Cola Field game day experience, including the singing of "Oh Canada" prior to every home game, holding a "Blue Jays weekend" promotion, this year are presenting bobblehead days promotional giveaways for two former Bisons now in the big leagues – Marcus Stroman and Aaron Sanchez. And with the recent slide in the Canadian dollar, this season the team is offering tickets and concessions "at par" with the American dollar through May 8.
We will preview the Bisons season with "Play Ball" in this week's print edition of Artvoice. The home schedule begins this Thursday at 2:05 PM vs the Rochester Red Wings. The team will also be home on Friday, Saturday and Sunday on this sun drenched spring weekend.