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Bills to increase season ticket prices, parking passes

The average cost for a season ticket to see the Buffalo Bills will go up by a little more than $4 per game for the 2020 season.

The Bills are raising prices by an average of 4.6%, taking the weighted ticket price from an average of $89.56 in 2019 to $93.67, the team confirmed to The Buffalo News.

A letter to season ticket holders will go out Wednesday, detailing the increase.

Just how much more fans will pay depends on the location of their seat, but it’s an across-the-board increase. According to the team, 32% of the seats at New Era Field are raising in price between $1 and $2, 31% raising between $3 and $5, 25% raising between $6 and $8 and the final 12% of seats raising between $9 and $13 per game.

Non-premium seats will range from $36 to $126 per game, meaning the cheapest season ticket will be $360 for a seat in the 300 Level 5 (upper deck, closest to the end zones) and the most expensive will be $1,259 for a seat in the 100 Level 1, between the 40-yard lines.

Despite the increase, Bills tickets remain some of the cheapest in the NFL. The Bills are projected to be one of just three NFL teams with an overall average season ticket price of less than $100 for the 2020 season. Based on the 2019 NFL Fan Cost Index published by the independent Team Marketing Report, the Bills’ average season ticket price was second lowest in the NFL, behind only the Cincinnati Bengals.

“I think the organization is happy to do that. I think we understand the size of our stadium,” said Chris Colleary, the team’s vice president of ticket sales and service. “We have a lot of volume to fill and we have to be price sensitive to do that.”

A strong season ticket base is important to any NFL team, but that’s especially true in Buffalo. New Era Field has one of the larger capacities in the NFL, and Western New York is one of the smallest economies in the league. Single-game tickets to December home games are always going to be a challenge to sell, which makes the 10-game commitment that comes with being a season ticket holder that much more valuable.

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“That’s one of the reasons we try to be very fair with our season ticket pricing,” Colleary said. “In a perfect world, we’d have two home games every month and it would be a very even distribution. That’s out of our control. We do the best we can.”

The Bills will continue to offer interest-free, extended payment plan options. Fans who paid for their 2019 season tickets with either a four- or 10-month payment plan will have their seats automatically renew unless they inform the team during a 30-day opt-out window that they wish to cancel their tickets. According to the team, 68% of season ticket holders used the extended payment plan option. Season ticket holders who pay their entire cost up front are not part of the automatic-renewal program.

Season parking passes will also rise in price. Cash lots will be $220 in 2020, up from $200 last season, a 10% increase of $2 per game. Premium lots will see a 20% increase, from $250 to $300 ($5 per game), while the camper lot will increase 7.1%, from $700 in 2019 to $750 in 2020 (also $5 per game).

The Bills increased season ticket prices by an average of 2.11% from 2018 to 2019, an increase of $1.85 per seat, per game.

The Bills are coming off a 10-6 season and a second trip to the playoffs in three years. That success spiked interest at the box office. According to Colleary, about 1,000 new fans purchased season tickets during last year’s regular season.

The Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs highlight the Bills’ home slate of games in 2020. The rest of the home schedule includes games against AFC East foes New England, Miami and the New York Jets, as well as visits by the Chargers, Rams, Seahawks and Steelers.

“The upcoming season brings many reasons for excitement – steps taken this season are only the beginning,” Colleary wrote in his letter to season ticket holders. “This team will continue to be built for long-term success, and the next chapter has already begun. Playoff to championship caliber will remain the goal and standard here, and your support is vital to our success.”

Last week, the Bills informed Erie County that the team has no intention of exercising the early termination clause that is part of the stadium lease agreement. That means the Bills will continue to call New Era Field home through at least July 2023, when the existing 10-year lease expires.

Bills won't opt out of New Era Field lease early. Now what?

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