Fans of the Buffalo Bills are naturally distressed with the upheaval created by the death of Mr. Ralph Wilson. With the team’s future in Western New York on the line, it has never been more important for Bills fans to support the team.
Without a doubt, the single most effective contribution fans can make to keep the Bills in Buffalo is to make sure there isn’t a single empty seat at Ralph Wilson Stadium this season. Win or lose, the team must have more than fans, but fannies in every single seat for all eight home games.
This may seem obvious, but let’s take a moment to examine why it is worthwhile for fans to seriously consider what they can do to ensure the team is not sold to an individual or entity with intentions to move the team out of Western New York. While it has been reported that the sale of the team may not be completed before the beginning of the regular season, one of the most important considerations a prospective buyer will look at are season ticket sales.
Season tickets are guaranteed income regardless of how the team fares on the field. It is arguably the most important statistic that will be considered by bidders for the team. It is even more important than looking at the history of season ticket sales over the entire history of the team. Why?
Remember the phrase “past performance is not indicative of future earnings?” This statement is absolutely true regarding revenue projections for the future. First and foremost, it has been made abundantly clear by the NFL and other interested parties that the contingency of the Buffalo Bills remaining in Western New York is dependent upon building a new stadium.
While there has been an impressive effort to move forward with determining a feasible location for a new stadium, nothing will move that process along more effectively than creating a demand for the product. How earnest will the effort continue to be to build a new stadium if Ralph Wilson Stadium has empty seats and blackouts this season? It isn’t going to warm the hearts of potential owners or state/county officials if season ticket sales are sluggish this year.
Fans often feel helpless because they believe that they have little ability to control the major decisions made by politicians and billionaires. However, nothing could be further from the truth. We have heard repeatedly from other NFL owners that the Buffalo Bills fan base is rabid and how important the team is to the economic vitality of the region.
Bills fans, now is the time that each of us can make a difference by making sure that any prospective owner is fully convinced that this fan base will continue to support the Bills through good times and bad. If you are a fan who is on the fence about purchasing season tickets, please think about this year as an investment in keeping the team in Western New York. It is absolutely the single most important thing you can do to ensure the team remains where it belongs.
Business owners who have an interest in supporting the Western New York community also need to step up to the plate and fill those luxury boxes this season. It has never been more important for each and every fan of this team to think about what they can do to send a message to the NFL and prospective owners that this team will be profitable for decades to come.
As a fan base, we are often compared to the Green Bay Packers because of the size of the market, the makeup of the fan base, and even climate challenges. However, the Bills are on the opposite end of the “Lombardi spectrum” as far as winning championships. If there were as many trophies in the lobby at One Bills Drive as there is in Green Bay’s front offices, there might not be as much of an issue filling the seats.
However, that is the past and it has never been more critical for this fan base to occupy every single seat in the stadium this fall. This cannot be a season where there are games when fans from other teams take over the stadium. I’m reminded of a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers a few years back when it seemed like ‘terrible towels’ blanketed a good portion of the stadium. That type of situation absolutely and emphatically cannot happen this season.
This is not a time when fans should expect the next guy to pick up the slack and buy season tickets. If you can’t afford season tickets but usually attend a game or two, make the time to sit down with family and friends and buy season tickets together and split up the games. This accomplishes two vitally important goals; getting the season ticket base up, and decreasing the number of tickets available to fans of other teams.
Now is the time for the people of Western New York and the surrounding area to make a statement to the NFL and potential owners regarding how much we value the Buffalo Bills. It really is now or never in a sense, because anything short of an overwhelming show of support will raise concern that the region will not be highly profitable for the next owner.
Do you really want to leave the future of the Bills up to the guy next door? Assuming that someone else will pick up the slack has led to many blackouts of games over the past few years. How will the county and state justify putting one dollar of taxpayer money into a billion dollar project if there are empty seats that can’t be filled this season?
It’s imperative that the Bills set a record for season ticket sales this year. It’s a necessary statement if you want to secure the future for the Bills in Western New York. Each and every one of us needs to take the time to sit down and figure out how we can contribute to making sure that the next owner has ample evidence that keeping the Bills in Western New York is a ‘no-brainer.’