Niagara Gazette

December 23, 2006

BILLS DOSE: Sabres’ success hasn’t helped the Bills

Among the reasons why there will be plenty of empty seats for the Tennessee Titans at Buffalo Bills game Sunday afternoon is the success of the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres.

In a stagnant economy, some people in Western New York have been attending more Sabres games and fewer Bills games. The Sabres have sold out all 16 home games this season. Capacity is 18,690. Through 16 home games last year, the average crowd was 15,882.

Blackouts of the last three home games have further taken the focus off the Bills in the eyes of many fans in western New York. Out of sight, out of mind. It is more difficult to maintain the allegiance of prospective ticket buyers when the games they can't attend aren't being shown.

On an optimistic note, the encouraging finish of the young 2006 Bills, coupled with around the estimated $40 million under the salary cap to bolster the roster, figures to inspire a significant gain in season-ticket sales for 2007. Some observers believe the count could rise from around 45,000 to 55,000. That would leave fewer individual game tickets to be sold and decrease the probability of future blackouts.

— Rochester Democrat & Chronicle