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Bills increase season-ticket prices

If you own Buffalo Bills season tickets, you have likely discovered by now that they're more expensive than they were a year ago.

For regular seats, the increase is $3 to $6 per game, depending on location, and for club seats, it's $5 to $10 per game, depending on location.

You just might not have readily noticed it.

In keeping with a recent approach, the Bills made no public announcement that they have increased ticket prices. Instead, they revealed it in direct communication with season-ticket holders ... although maybe not so directly.

In a Jan. 5 email notifying season-ticket customers of payment-plan options, the Bills made no specific mention that the cost of their seats had gone up. They left that information to be extrapolated later in the email, in the portion where the price is listed. A hard-copy of the letter was also sent, via regular mail, and the payment-plan information appears on the front while the cost of the seats is on the back.

Some fans have been taken aback by what they viewed as too subtle a mention of the price hike (one described it in an e-mail to The News as "sneaky"), but the Bills don't see it that way.

"It's reflected in the cost," Bills vice president of communications Scott Berchtold said Wednesday of the manner in which season-ticket holders were informed of the increase. "You can see there's an increase right there. I think it's clear, when you look at the pricing, that it's communicated."

As for why the team chooses not to make a general announcement of the ticket-price increase, Berchtold said, "It's just more of a one-on-one communication with fans. And there are a number of (other) instances where we communicate directly with them." He also noted that the hard-copy letter previously was two pages, with the pricing on the second page.

Berchtold said the Bills are "receiving a good number of responses" since the renewal emails were sent.

The average price of a regular seat to a Bills game is now $68.18, which, according to Berchtold, still ranks in the bottom five of the NFL.

Berchtold said the cost of single-game seats would not be known until the league announces the schedule, which usually happens in April, because of the team's variable-pricing plan.

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