Congressman Brian Higgins (D-South Buffalo) expressed disappointment this morning after learning the Buffalo Bills will not change their television blackout policy.
"Western New York is home to the most loyal fan base in the NFL and the decision by the Bills to continue the practice of blacking out the television screens of local fans is deeply disappointing," Higgins said. "I have a great deal of respect for the Bills organization which operates a team this community loves and supports. The gameday experience for the 12th Man at Ralph Wilson Stadium is something that can never be replicated at home and one we should continue to encourage and promote. However, it is fundamentally unfair and fiscally short-sighted to alienate the dedicated fans regardless of where they sit to cheer on our team."
Under a new blackout policy, NFL owners would voluntarily be able to broadcast football games to local markets when stadiums are at 85 percent capacity, but be required to pay more into the "Visiting Team's Share" for every ticket sold above the 85 percent threshold. Previous policy stated that a stadium must be sold out before the game could be televised locally. Reports indicate that NFL teams will be required to set their blackout policies by Sunday.
The Indianapolis Colts and San Diego Chargers are also sticking with the old blackout policy.