It really has been far too long since we’ve talked about the Bills, but this is something that truly bothers me. Here we go:
The Buffalo Bills are raising ticket prices for the 2010 season.
Season-ticket holders sitting along the sidelines in the lower bowl will pay $10 more than last year. Overall the prices will rise between $2 and $10 a game, depending on the seat.
The lower level sideline seats roughly between the 20s will cost $80 a game, up from $70, for season tickets. The lower-level sideline seats between the end zone and the 20 and in the lower middle of the upper deck will cost $70 a game, up from $60.
The NFL average for the prime lower bowl seats between the 20s last year was $104.45 a game. The NFL average for the lower-level sidelines nearer the goal lines and in the lower middle of the upper deck was $90.30 a game.
The Bills’ average season-ticket price will rise from $51.24 to $59.19. That’s $15 under the 2009 NFL average. The Bills had the least expensive tickets in the NFL in 2009. Second least expensive was Cleveland at $54.65. Third was Jacksonville at $57.34.
In other words, we have to pay more money to see the Bills next season. Now am I happy about this? Of course not, but is anyone really shocked? The Bills still have the cheapest tickets in the league. This means they have one of the lowest gates in the league, and therefore make less money than many other franchises. This is a common theme with the Bills, and plenty of other teams are raising their own rates. Why wouldn’t the Bills follow suit?
I don’t like admitting it, but I’m completely okay with the Bills raising ticket prices. Do I want to pay more money to watch football, Bills football in particular? No way, but them’s the breaks. What bothers me more is the fact that people are actually upset about this. Am I supposed to be shocked that prices are going up?
Should I be surprised when the Sabres announce more expensive ducats for next fall as well? Was I supposed to fall out of my chair when I saw the invoice for playoff tickets this spring? Of course they freaking cost more, that’s how the business works.
One of the reasons I write so little about the Bills is because I have nothing new to say about them. The problems they have are the same. Players and coaches don’t want to come to Buffalo, and so signings and hires are uninspired. Finances are never solid. The team is always mediocre. Fan support is always strong and prices keep going up. Wash, rinse, repeat.
Everyone knows what’s wrong with the Bills and everyone thinks they know how to fix them. But here we are complaining about ticket prices when the real problem is something none of us can control. The future of the team is still looming, in the hands of an elderly man with no direction of any kind.
Quite frankly, that makes me too nervous to care of it costs a few more bucks to get in the building next season. I’m sure Ticketmaster will add a few bucks on as well, and maybe StubHub will raise their fees so the secondary market is tougher, too. Just because they’ve missed the playoffs for a decade doesn’t make the need for revenue go away, and they don’t need to justify the desire to make more money.
Maybe I’m wrong, but at this point complaining about ticket prices feels halfhearted and silly. You’re either going to go a game or not, and if a few bucks changes your mind on season tickets then so be it.
Besides, if the product on the field doesn’t keep you from taking the plunge, you are clearly there for bigger reasons than football. The Bills are well aware of this fact, and they know that after the bitching goes away the willing participants will still file in. It’s been that way with parking, the ridiculous cost of a jersey, and beer. It will be with tickets.
Always has, always will.