NFL Wire News

Bills set season-ticket sales record

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The Buffalo Bills have sold more than 57,500 season tickets for the highest total in the team’s 55-year history.

The increase of more than 10,000 tickets likely is linked to the hiring of head coach Rex Ryan in January and his bombastic personality. Last season the team sold 47,482 seasons tickets.

The total surpasses a franchise record of 57,132 set in 1992, the team announced Monday.

“Since we agreed to purchase the Buffalo Bills in September 2014, we have been humbled by the fans and their outpouring of emotion when they learned this team would remain in Buffalo,” Bills owner Terry Pegula said in a statement. “Bills season ticket members passionately support this team year after year and are the most loyal fans in the National Football League. We truly thank them for their commitment to this franchise. Like our fans, we are looking forward to a great 2015 season with our head coach Rex Ryan, the coaching staff, the players and the entire organization.”

Ryan, who coached the New York Jets for six years, clearly has fired up the fan base with his positive attitude.

“First and foremost, it goes to our fans and it goes to our ownership, the Pegulas, who obviously provided stability for this franchise in western New York,” Bills president Russ Brandon said. “As I said at the time of the sale, the collective anvil that had been on the back of all of our shoulders (about the future of the team), we were able to put that in Lake Erie, and that played a huge role in today’s announcement.”

The Bills plan to cap season tickets at 60,000 and institute a waiting list if demand exceeds that number. Individual tickets are sold out for all home games except Buffalo’s regular-season finale against the Jets.

Brandon said that Terry and Kim Pegula purchasing the team in October resulted in record season-ticket renewals and sales were further boosted by Ryan’s hire.

“I think it’s a combination of a lot of things,” Brandon said. “Direction of the franchise: I think people feel pretty good about what (general manager Doug Whaley) and Rex are doing with the product on the field. We could see it last year. We had a pretty significant increase last year in season-ticket sales.

“The excitement of what we’re doing personnel-wise and what we’re doing coaching-wise play a role in it, but there’s no doubt in my mind the No. 1 factor is what Terry and Kim have done.”

The playoffs were a realistic goal in the final month of the 2014 season for the Bills just before two losses in three weeks kept the team home for the postseason for the 15th straight season. The team finished with a 9-7 record.

“That the team on the field has not been to the playoffs in the last 15 years is obviously difficult for anyone who is involved in this organization, in any department,” Brandon said. “But it goes back to our fans, and it goes back to the loyalty they’ve shown — not just this year, we’re sitting here talking about a record and that’s great — I’m talking about the loyalty that our fans have provided the entire time that we’ve been on board trying to drive this business.”


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