Bills ticket prices increasing for 2021 season but remain among NFL's cheapest

Sal Maiorana
Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

In a move that should surprise no one given the pandemic-induced financial difficulties the NFL faced in 2020, ticket prices for Buffalo Bills games will be rising for the 2021 season.

The team will send a letter this week to season-ticket holders announcing the price hikes as it will try to recoup a small fraction of the lost revenue from 2020 when fans were not allowed to attend any of the eight regular-season games, and only 6,700 were admitted for each of the two playoff games.

Reports indicate that the general breakdown of the increases are as follows: Approximately 25% of the seats will go up anywhere between $13 and $19 per game; 46% will increase between $6 and $12; and 29% of the seats will go up $5 or less.

As the country begins to come out of the COVID-19 fog and arenas and stadiums are starting to welcome fans back at higher and higher percentages of capacity, the Bills are hopeful that by the time the season begins in September, they can be open for full capacity.

If that’s not possible, season-ticket holders will have priority to ticket access. If it turns out that there are more season-ticket holders than seats available, it will likely come down to seniority on the ticket accounts.

The average cost of a non-club seat will now be around $82 per game while a club seat average comes in at around $253. Even with the increases, the Bills continue to have some of the least expensive tickets in the NFL. In fact, about 20% of the stadium will still have tickets costing less than $55 which makes Bills Stadium one of the best bargains in the league.

Chris Colleary, the team’s vice president of ticket sales and service, told The Buffalo News that the Bills’ average ticket price factoring in the increases is still about 20% below the league average. 

The Bills are increasing their ticket prices across the board for 2021.

“There is really so much that goes into our pricing every year,” Colleary told The News. “We look at historical sales, comparable NFL markets, and really try to determine the market value for each seat. We’re literally going in row by row, seat by seat, evaluating the season ticket sales history for the last three seasons, if the seat was available on a single-game price, what it sold for, and then if that seat was ever sold on a resale site, what it sold for, and really trying to come up with what we feel is a fair market value for each seat.”

Of course, the season-ticket price would automatically increase if the NFL moves to a 17-game schedule, which seems likely, and the Bills are one of the teams that gets an additional home game in 2021.  

Coming off a season in which they went 13-3 in the regular season and won the AFC East for the first time since 1995, then advanced to the AFC Championship Game for the first time since 1993, Bills’ tickets are going to be a hot commodity.

The stadium now holds just under 72,000 and it’s possible that the all-time season-ticket record of 60,102 set in 2015, Rex Ryan’s first year as a coach, could be approached.

Of course, that might depend on how comfortable the general public will be regarding returning to a full stadium. Even as COVID-19 positivity numbers drop and the number of people vaccinated rises, some people will continue to be leery of big crowds in the fall.

The Bills are scheduled to host the Dolphins, Patriots, Jets, Panthers, Falcons, Colts, Steelers and Texans. As for the 17th game, the opponent coming to Bills Stadium would be NFC East champion Washington.

When the games will be played won’t be known until around the second week of May because the league is reportedly pushing back its schedule release as it did last year. 

This means it would be after the draft and two months after the initial surge of free agent signings. The league apparently liked the idea last year of knowing the bulk of each team’s roster construction ahead of lining up the marquee and/or prime-time games.

Sal Maiorana can be reached at maiorana@gannett.com. Follow him on Twitter @salmaiorana.