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Despite early sellouts, Bills still having trouble selling tickets

RalphWilsonStadium_IA Getty Images

The Buffalo Bills, who could be one of the surprise success stories of 2011, successfully have sold out two of their first three home games (Sunday vs. Raiders and October 9 vs. Eagles), with another one (September 25 vs. Patriots) close to being a sellout.  As the Buffalo News explains it, however, the Bills are nevertheless having trouble when it comes to selling tickets.

The season-ticket base is plummeting.  In 2009, the team had 55,308 season-ticket holders.  In 2010, the number dropped to 43,925.  This year, it’s at 37,355.

As a result, plenty of work remains when it comes to selling tickets to some of the late-season games.  About 10,000 seats are still not sold for the game against the Jets on November 6.  And each of three December home games has roughly 15,000 to 18,000 tickets remaining.

If the Bills continue to play well, those tickets won’t last.  If the Bills stumble, there’s a chance that some games will be blacked out.

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41 Responses to “Despite early sellouts, Bills still having trouble selling tickets”
  1. ticalcaldwell says: Sep 14, 2011 2:58 PM

    My Bengals will too…

  2. strctlylo says: Sep 14, 2011 2:59 PM

    “The Buffalo Bills, who could be one of the surprise success stories of 2011″

    A bit premature for that statement don’t ya think?

    I mean they’re 1-0. Maybe if they were 3-0 or 3-1 or something along those lines.

  3. flyboy123456 says: Sep 14, 2011 3:00 PM

    Word on the street is that the team is thinking about bringing back The OJ for halftime shows. I guess he’s going to juggle knives on the 50 yard line.

  4. profootballwalk says: Sep 14, 2011 3:00 PM

    If I lived in Buffalo, I’d go over the Falls in a birdcage.

  5. doctorfootball says: Sep 14, 2011 3:03 PM

    Well, one win against a Chiefs team that most people predicted to struggle, isn’t going to necessarily sell a lot of tickets. They need to keep winning in order to get those ticket sales back up.

  6. bturner032002 says: Sep 14, 2011 3:04 PM

    Boy
    I
    Love
    Losing
    Superbowls

  7. jpmelon says: Sep 14, 2011 3:05 PM

    If the Bills continue to win, the rest of tickets will be sold in short order……season tickets are down because there has been literally “0″ excitement involving free agent signings and the team went 4-12 last year. Give western NY a break….we do a pretty good job of supporting our team given all the circumstances.

    Two years ago was the benchmark for season ticket sales, right? That was the same year that the team signed T.O. It’s not a coincidence…..do something exciting and people will watch the games.

    Also, the first 3 home games are basically sold out….this is such a non-story

  8. dan7800 says: Sep 14, 2011 3:12 PM

    As a Bills season ticket holder, one of the biggest problems has nothing to do with the team on the field, but with the restrictions being placed on things like tailgating. It seems like the NFL has done its best in recent years to ruin possibly the best tailgating experience in all of football.

  9. crowdseats says: Sep 14, 2011 3:14 PM

    Although the lockout didn’t hurt fan perception for the most part, we anticipate NFL ticket sales to be down from last year. The Bills should be using CrowdSeats.com to help move tickets – the first Daily Deals site for Sports Tickets.

  10. mustbejealousof6 says: Sep 14, 2011 3:15 PM

    Off to Toronto! ☺ LOLY ☺

  11. frostbelt says: Sep 14, 2011 3:19 PM

    The BILLS will be fine. Just win some damn games and make a playoff appearance and WHAM – Season tickets in 2012 = 60,000.

  12. igotacousinweusetocallporky says: Sep 14, 2011 3:19 PM

    Why is no mention made of all the empty seats in Kansas City? I have Sunday Ticket and watch all the games and there are empty seats in a lot of places but all i ever hear about is Jacksonville and Buffalo.

  13. steveohho says: Sep 14, 2011 3:19 PM

    People are broke; watching it on TV is cheaper.

  14. izlye says: Sep 14, 2011 3:24 PM

    i’ve been a season tocket holder for 8 years. The only time Buffalo has had trouble selling out is when they stink _AND_ it’s the end of the year w/terrible weather. As long as the Bills are mathematically in the playoff race. The Ralph will sell out.

  15. zoxitic says: Sep 14, 2011 3:34 PM

    igotacousinweusetocallporky says:Sep 14, 2011 3:19 PM

    Why is no mention made of all the empty seats in Kansas City? I have Sunday Ticket and watch all the games and there are empty seats in a lot of places but all i ever hear about is Jacksonville and Buffalo.
    ________________________________
    You are right. Makes you wonder doesn’t it.

  16. jakek2 says: Sep 14, 2011 3:35 PM

    I don’t blame Bills fans or any fans for that matter for not going to games. Who wants to pay that nut to watch glorified 7 on 7 drills. Bring back hitting and fans will return.

  17. jagwar73 says: Sep 14, 2011 3:36 PM

    Newsflash! If a team wins consistently, ticket sales will increase. Not a story, time wasted.

  18. 808raiderinparadise says: Sep 14, 2011 3:43 PM

    Thats a BIG if, OAK D-line might rip Fitzpatrick into peices.

  19. kcsam76 says: Sep 14, 2011 3:45 PM

    So sorry to burst your bubble, but the game this Sunday is blacked out after all. Silver and Blacked out! Raider Nation!

  20. jcamps33 says: Sep 14, 2011 3:51 PM

    profootballwalk says:
    Sep 14, 2011 3:00 PM
    If I lived in Buffalo, I’d go over the Falls in a birdcage.

    Seriously–dude unless you live in NYC–STFU.

  21. rectumnearlykilledem says: Sep 14, 2011 3:56 PM

    Lots of empty seats. Looks like Yankee Stadium.

  22. sah0620 says: Sep 14, 2011 4:06 PM

    bturner032002 says:
    Sep 14, 2011 3:04 PM
    Boy
    I
    Love
    Losing
    Superbowls

    1994 called, it wants its joke back.

  23. favreforever says: Sep 14, 2011 4:06 PM

    They are having some success north of the border. Assuring Canadians that the U.S. Government will honor all Civil War era football tickets printed by the Confederacy.

  24. cosanostra71 says: Sep 14, 2011 4:38 PM

    Welcome to LA? Ah, I hope not. I’d rather the Jags, Vikings or Chargers come. Bills fans seem pretty loyal.

  25. maddenisfordorks says: Sep 14, 2011 4:42 PM

    I used to live in Jax, and in West NY –

    Very passionate fans in both areas – as their teams mean a ton to the area.

    I’d appreciate it if this site wouldn’t create so many opportunities for other NFL idiot fans to bash our franchises.

    Do some real reporting that matters.

  26. gadzod says: Sep 14, 2011 4:47 PM

    I was at the game in KC. There were all kinda of empty seats! I was sitting in Section 132, and there were open seats 4 sets to the left of me, 2 seats from the right of me, 3 rows back of me, and 5 rows in front of me. The 200 level was visibly empty on TV, and if you looked at the upper level on the 50 yard line, there were whole ROWS empty. This was a team that went to the playoffs last year! Yet, they want to talk about a team that hasn’t made the playoffs in 11 years. As long as we’re still alive, tickets will sell! If we start off 3-0 or so, the rest of the tickets for the year will be sold out, just like every year in Buffalo.

  27. EJ says: Sep 14, 2011 4:47 PM

    dan7800 says:
    Sep 14, 2011 3:12 PM
    As a Bills season ticket holder, one of the biggest problems has nothing to do with the team on the field, but with the restrictions being placed on things like tailgating.

    The tailgating experience has definitely changed for the worse. I would also like to add the parking has changed too much and the whole Toronto thing has pissed many people off.

    Yeah, going 4-12 doesn’t help but add on these few things and you have a recipe for disaster.

    But still I have to mention, Go Bills!!!!

  28. blancodiablo says: Sep 14, 2011 4:55 PM

    cosanostra71 says: blah blah

    Obviously a lot more loyal than anything LA can offer. Why dont you get your own team versus stealing one from another city?

    Question is, once LA fails *again* as an NFL city, where does the team move then?

  29. juiceboxsupply says: Sep 14, 2011 4:56 PM

    Bills consistently sell out meaningless games for a bad team in terrible weather. This shouldn’t be a story

  30. bufny says: Sep 14, 2011 5:00 PM

    sah0620 says:Sep 14, 2011 4:06 PM

    bturner032002 says:
    Sep 14, 2011 3:04 PM
    Boy
    I
    Love
    Losing
    Superbowls

    1994 called, it wants its joke back.
    ________________________________
    Or at least some thing imaginitve Like :
    Q: What’s the Same about the Buffalo Bills & Marijuana
    A: They BOTH get Smoked in BOWLS…

  31. southcakpanther says: Sep 14, 2011 5:09 PM

    Bills can’t sell tickets because everybody in Buffalo has moved to Charlotte. I will gladly help all of them pack and move back north. I might even buy them all Bills season tickets if it will speed up the process.

  32. nflofficeadmin says: Sep 14, 2011 5:11 PM

    Jim Kelly will let you massage his calves if you buy tickets to December Bills games.

  33. emperor83 says: Sep 14, 2011 5:20 PM

    Oh, look. Raiders fans. All 4 of them are here. They think they’re people lmao

  34. nflofficeadmin says: Sep 14, 2011 5:20 PM

    Hey “maddenisfordorks” West NY is a town in New Jersey just outside of Manhattan. Buffalo is in Western NY. And having been in West NY I can guarantee you that no one in or from West NY wants to be associated with Buffalo.

    Now go play Madden ya closet dork.

  35. gobills716 says: Sep 14, 2011 5:27 PM

    In the last 10 years the Bills have a combined record of 62-98 but have sold 94.6% of their tickets which is an average of 69,170 per game… Cut us some slack, how many teams outside of NY or Chicago could have that kind of support during a decade of such horrendous play on the field?
    Season tickets sales are low for a number of reasons:
    1.) we’re coming off a 4-12 season
    2.) the lockout
    3.) all of our improvements were on the defensive side of the ball which doesn’t sell tickets like signing a big WR (T.O.) or QB (Bledsoe).
    4.) Buffalo is a regional team, approximately 25 percent of their season ticket holders in 2009 came from Rochester and Toronto. It’s hard to make people drive 1-2 hrs to watch a team coming off a 4-12 season.

    I feel like the point of this post was to implant a sense that Buffalo doesn’t support their team. There are a plethora of teams around the league that have worse fan support than Buffalo and we have been horrible for 10 years!!!
    –GO BILLS

  36. chazatlas says: Sep 14, 2011 6:12 PM

    People’s budgets are tighter than ever. Especially on an suspect product. Let the Bills win some back to back games and 4-5 wins early and ticket sales will jump.

  37. NoHomeTeam says: Sep 14, 2011 7:35 PM

    blancodiablo says: “Obviously a lot more loyal than anything LA can offer. Why dont you get your own team versus stealing one from another city?”

    Let’s start with a little perspective:
    The Rams were in Southern California for 48 years.
    The Bills are beginning their 51st season in Buffalo.

    On to your point:
    It should go without saying that we would prefer to have “our own” team. But the League is at 32 franchises, and expansion is simply not going to happen. Therefore, any team we get is going to come from some other city.

    And a final note:
    I find it interesting that the prevailing opinion on most of these threads is that Los Angeles “lost” its NFL team, but some other city is going to have their team “stolen.”

  38. rzon250 says: Sep 14, 2011 8:01 PM

    Me and a bunch of my friends refused to renew our season tickets because we had supported mediocrity far too long. The team cannot even sell optimism, evidenced my the massive drop-off of season tickets. People are fed-up and rightfully so. The owner is simply pocketing his 40 million per year and doesn’t give a crap about winning, and nothing will change until he is gone. But, Nix and Gailey obviously appear to be making an impact, and one game can certainly change the frustration with losing. If we beat the Raiders and are 2-0 facing NE, Buffalo will be pumped up. The tickets will sell, can’t blame people for being fed up with inept management, drafting, coaching and personnel decisions for 11 years. Go Bills!

  39. buffalosoldier99 says: Sep 14, 2011 9:24 PM

    to all the buffalo haters…go climb back in your mothers loose vaginas and stop breathing my air.

  40. wilbes16 says: Sep 14, 2011 11:32 PM

    In 2008, there were rumors the team was willing to spend the money for a big name to revitalize the organization, then interviewed TWO internal candidates for the GM job, one to satisfy the Rooney rule who was fired when he didn’t get the job, the other a retired scout who had never been a GM. They wound up with a mediocre college coach because they couldn’t get NFL position coaches who had never been coordinators to interview for the job. They continually draft players who got by on size and speed in college who can’t seem to actually play football. They trade the only multiple time pro bowler they had in ten years because he dared to ask to be paid like one. They use cash to the cap accounting so they wind up at the bottom of actual money spent every year. They have a 90 year old owner who hasn’t been seen in public since the draft, a 70 year old GM, and a 60 year old coach. The real question is why was anyone buying tickets in the first place?

  41. r00tabaga says: Sep 17, 2011 9:57 AM

    Who cares? Theyre sold out this week.
    GoBILLS
    GoSABRES

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