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Bills-Titans Game Fails to Sell Out; No Local TV | News

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Bills-Titans Game Fails to Sell Out; No Local TV
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ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -It's official-with over 11,000 tickets left, the Bills-Titans game this Sunday at the Ralph will not be seen on local TV.

As the players are trying to blitz on the field, the marketing department is doing the same.

"It is a bit of anomaly to have three home games in December, but we look at it as an opportunity,"  says Bills CEO Russ Brandon.

Brandon was hoping to turn momentum on the field into momentum at the box office when he announced the December Charge ticket sales campaign earlier this month.  "You know, you want to be home in December, especially when these games mean something...and these games will mean something," he says.

But that was then, and this is now.

The Bills have now dropped four straight, and those December games are becoming a tougher and tougher sell, as evidenced by a quick check around the various ticketing websites like, Stub Hub, and illustrated in glaring fashion when you search available seats on the Bills website.

For the December 11th Miami game, 13,600 seats remain.

And for the Christmas eve match-up against the Broncos, there are still 24,800 tickets left. So it also appears more and more likely that fans hoping to watch at home may have already seen their last Bills home game of 2011 because of the black-out rules.

But Bills brass are trying to brighten that picture through a variety of deals, such as the December package that offers savings of up to $9 dollars per ticket as well as military discounts.

2 On Your Side's Josh Boose sat down with Buffalo Bills CEO, Russ Brandon, Tuesday night.

"What's the chance that this is going to be on-the-air that it's not going to be blacked out, that these tickets will be picked up?" Boose asked Brandon.

"I would like to say that we're in good position but it's going to be a challenge for us," Brandon replied." It's a lot of inventory to move in a short amount of time."

It's inventory that could be bought-up by the Bills themselves for a fraction of the regular ticket price, all to get the game on-the-air.

"Will the team buy these tickets; will the team make that up?" Boose asked.

"No, we're looking at the standpoint that, that's done in some markets, but in this market our business model really calls for us to be sold out," said Brandon.

Brandon says buying up seats themselves would devalue season tickets altogether.

"What if people are saying, look if the team did better, we'd be buying tickets, it comes down to performance," Boose asked Brandon.

"And I think we've had a good performance," he replied. "If you look at our homes games this year we've had a tremendous home field advantage. We've had arguably the three best home games we've had in a decade."

But Brandon says performance is irrelevant because only 60-percent of December home games were sold out in the last decade. And in the 90's, the Super Bowl years, the stadium only sold out 55-percent of the time in December. He says it all has to do with the time of year. And like before, they're trying with everyone from fans to corporate sponsors to get those thousands of unsold seats bought up before Thursday's blackout deadline.

As for what this means all means for a team whose future here many continue to question...

"Does a blackout leave a bad impression with the NFL, if you will, especially at a team that's been looked at or speculated for years now could possibly move?" Boose asked.

"Well, we look at it from the standpoint that every time we don't sell every seat in this building it's a disappointment," said Brandon.

Bills' Senior Vice President of Communications Scott Berchtold told 2 On Your Side "We utilize an aggressive promotional approach for our season ticket campaign and continue that philosophy throughout the year. With the creation of December Charge, we continued that aggressive approach to create more awareness with a call to action. We were very aggressive in terms of media interviews involving all media platforms. We ran ads in Buffalo News and Rochester D&C, in-game scrolls during the game broadcasts, created December Charge "business cards" that we distributed throughout WNY and utilized other various promotional platforms to inform our fans of inventory availability, to move that inventory, to continue to provide our team with the same home field advantage we enjoyed in the first half of the season."

But as far as the marketing end of things, we can also look back to a quote from Sylvio D'Addario, the General Manager of the Bills-in-Toronto series back in October, when there was concern that they wouldn't be able to fill the Rogers Center. D'Addario said at that point "The best marketing campaign in sports is a winning team".              

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