The Buffalo Bills drew 519,695 fans to their home games during the 2018 NFL season, a number that represents a 2.7 percent drop from the 2017 NFL season. Jay Skurski of The Buffalo News wrote that the team’s attendance this season was the lowest it’s been since 2013, which was the last time the Bills farmed away a home game to the city of Toronto.
Buffalo’s Week 8 contest, a date with the New England Patriots on Monday Night Football, was the game with the highest attendance figures on the season. Over 70,000 fans came for that one, a 25-6 loss to Tom Brady and company. With Buffalo’s record sitting at 3-7 after the team’s Week 11 bye, three games against similarly poor teams late in the season hurt the final attendance number.
The Bills faced off against the Jacksonville Jaguars, who were also 3-7, in Week 12, a game which drew only 57,799 fans. Two weeks later, the Bills (4-8) hosted the New York Jets (3-9), drawing only 59,119 fans. After losing that game, the Bills hosted the Detroit Lions (5-8) the following week in front of only 59,110 fans.
No Bills’ home game has dipped under 60,000 fans since 2014, and that game should certainly have an asterisk next to it, as it was the game between the Bills and the Jets that had to be moved to Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan due to a massive snowstorm in the Buffalo area the weekend of the game. The last Bills’ game in Orchard Park to feature fewer than 60,000 fans was in Week 16 of the 2013 season, a 19-0 victory over the Miami Dolphins.
Game attendance throughout the NFL dipped to the lowest levels since 2010, which might be cause for concern for the league if its television and streaming numbers weren’t so positive. According to Frank Schwab of Yahoo!, television ratings rose 5 percent from 2017, and streaming numbers rose 86 percent from the previous year. This represents a dynamic shift in the way people consume media, as more fans are choosing to stay home and watch the games from the comfort of their living rooms. Fans save plenty of cash by going that route, as well.
The Dallas Cowboys led the league in live attendance this year, beating out the next-closest team, the New York Jets, by over 100,000 fans. The Cowboys had 732,958 fans attend live, while the Jets had 623,856. Buffalo’s total was 21st in the league this year; their fan total of 534,200 from the 2017 NFL season was 17th.
All specific attendance data courtesy of profootballreference.com