The Buffalo Bills will allow season ticket holders to opt out of their commitment for the 2020 season and return in 2021 while maintaining account seniority and seat location, the team announced Tuesday, joining a handful of NFL teams with similar policies.
The Bills also acknowledged the possibility that no fans may be in attendance for games this season.
“While the possibility exists that no spectators will be permitted at New Era Field for the 2020 season, we continue to work with the NFL and state and local government agencies to establish policies and procedures to create and maintain the safest possible environment for spectators,” Chris Colleary, the Bills’ vice president of ticket sales and service, wrote in a letter posted on the team’s website.
The Bills are working on models for 15%, 33% and 50% seating capacity this season at New Era Field, should restrictions be necessary, The Buffalo News reported on June 16.
These plans include designations of where fans could sit to maintain social distancing and safety protocols, and each of the models encompasses various offshoots relating to groups or families that could potentially sit together.
A Bills spokesman said the team could not comment on any potential plans, citing a league directive to avoid speculation about the season and hypothetical contingencies.
Any plan would have to be approved by state and local government officials.
New Era Field has a seating capacity of 73,079.
Fifteen percent capacity translates to a crowd of about 10,962. Thirty-three percent works out to about 24,000. Half the stadium capacity is about 36,500.
If the stadium is limited to one-third capacity, more than half the season ticket holders will be left out. In 2016, the Bills’ season ticket total was 58,535. The team hasn’t released official totals since.
“As guidelines are established, we will communicate them to all ticket purchasers as soon as possible, including any changes to our seating capacity. Until then, we will not be charging or taking any additional season ticket payments,” Colleary wrote Tuesday.
“Please understand that in a reduced capacity scenario, seat locations and availability for season ticket members may be adjusted.”
An email with opt-out information will be sent to season ticket holders in the coming days, the team announced.
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