Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — If you want to see the Buffalo Bills play at home this season, you better have a ticket for the game or hope for a sellout.
That's because the team announced today that it has chosen to opt out of the National Football League's new blackout policy.
In an announcement on the teams' website, Bills CEO Russ Brandon said the team relies too much on its ticket sales to participate in the new program, which allows the league's 32 teams to declare sellouts if 85 percent of non-premium tickets for a home game were sold 72 hours prior to game time to lift local television blackouts.
“We are a volume-based franchise,” Brandon explained in the website announcement. “For us to be successful we have to keep our ticket prices low and sell a great number of tickets. At 73,000 strong, our fans create one of the best Home Field Advantages in the entire National Football League.”
The apparent tipping factor for the Bills is a stipulation in the new 85 percent rule that requires home teams to turn over 50 half of the money from every ticket sold beyond that 85 percent standard to the NFL's "visiting team pool." The current rate is 34 percent.
For the Bills, that's too much money to lose for games that sellout.
The Bills also said that the new policy would have had little affect on games that are televised. There have been six blackouts in the past two seasons, and only one of those six TV blackouts would’ve been lifted under the 85 percent rule, last year’s Dec. 18th home game against Miami.