The Buffalo Bisons and Toronto Blue Jays announced that the teams have signed a two-year extension of the clubs' current player development contract, ensuring the Bisons will remain the Triple-A affiliate of the Blue Jays through the 2016 season.
The Bisons and Blue Jays began their affiliation in September of 2012, and in less than a year, the effects of a strong partnership has not only greatly benefitted both organizations on the field and off, but has energized baseball fans from Western New York to the Greater Toronto Area.
"We've seen a tremendous response from fans, both longtime followers and new supporters, since affiliating with the Blue Jays," said Bob Rich, owner of the Buffalo Bisons. "We've found a great teammate in the Blue Jays and every element of our business is better with the strong commitment of our major league partner.
"We believe in the Toronto Blue Jays and the direction their organization is going. The future is bright for the Blue Jays and we want to be a part of what is sure to be exciting seasons to come in Toronto and Buffalo."
"Our partnership with Mindy and Bob Rich and the entire Buffalo Bisons organization has exceeded our expectations," said Paul Beeston, Toronto Blue Jays president and C.E.O. "Our thanks to president Jonathan Dandes, general manager Mike Buczkowski and Chief Operating Officer Joseph Segarra, who represent a talented organization that is among the finest in baseball. We look forward to working together to bring winning teams to both cities for the next three seasons and many more to follow."
The Bisons have averaged 8,137 fans per game in 2013, an increase of nearly 800 fans from their 2012 average of 7,370 (Thursday's Fan Appreciation Night crowd not included).
Along with the increased attendance on game day, the Bisons have seen tremendous growth throughout much of their business model, including online ticket sales, merchandise sales, game-day concessions and website traffic. The radio broadcast of several Bisons games were aired up by Toronto's FAN 590 and Bisons merchandise, team updates and highlights were all readily available at the Blue Jays' Rogers Centre.
On the field, 13 members of the Buffalo Bisons 2013 Opening Day roster have played for the Toronto Blue Jays and a total of 29 players have appeared in games for both clubs this season. Key Major League injury rehab assignments with the Bisons, such as Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson and Melky Cabrera, have further forged the Bisons fans' connection with their Major League parent club.