The NFL is allowing teams to ease their local television blackout rules this season, but the Buffalo Bills are telling fans that if they want to see the Bills, they’ll have to fill the stadium.
“We are not going to participate in the relaxed-manifest rule,” chief executive officer Russ Brandon told the Buffalo News. “We are a volume-based business, and for us to be successful, we need to keep our ticket prices low and sell a greater number of tickets.”
In other words, the Bills want the threat of a blackout to keep fans from figuring they can just stay home and watch games for free. From a dollars-and-cents perspective, that might be the right call for the Bills, but it won’t make the folks in Buffalo happy. The Buffalo News editorialized against the Bills blacking out their home games, and U.S. Rep. Brian Higgins, D-Buffalo, criticized the Bills for not taking advantage of the new rule.
“I think it’s disappointing, and I think it’s somewhat short-sighted,” Higgins said. “I’m disappointed that they didn’t take into account the loyalty of the fan base here in Buffalo.”
But the Bills aren’t budging. They note their ticket prices are low by NFL standards and that if they can’t fill Ralph Wilson Stadium at the prices available, then they can’t be on local TV.