The Buffalo Bills are attempting to curb unruly fan behavior on game days in the bus and RV lots at New Era Field, instituting a new policy requiring buses and limo buses to buy a tailgating package for those ticket-holders seeking to tailgate prior to the home game.
As recent history has shown us, before every home game, Bills fans seem to make national headlines with their tailgating exploits—which range from throwing fellow #BillsMafia members through folding tables to drinking to excess.
Andy Major, the Buffalo Bills’ vice president of operations and guest experience, cited concerns over the safety of the team’s fans as the primary reason for the change heading into the 2019 season.
“When you’re seeing what was happening in the bus lot the last couple seasons, especially last year, it gets very concerning. It’s dangerous behavior, not just negative fan behavior. It’s dangerous to security, the sheriffs and staff who are trying to police things,” Major said.
Major added that the new policy also resulted from feedback from bus and limo companies that had to deal with rowdy and unruly fans during home tailgates. While praising Bills fans as “the best fans in the NFL” and fans who “know how to tailgate and have a good time,” Major said the team moved forward with this plan in a good-faith effort to improve the all-around tailgating experience for all Bills fans.
“We’re just trying to make it safe and encourage a responsible atmosphere that’s fun for everyone,” Major said. “The viral videos on social media, it’s embarrassing when we see that. It affects the community, affects the team negatively. We know our fans aren’t like that. That’s what’s disappointing for us. ... there are a few who make a big stink out there – a few knuckleheads who wreck it.”
Starting with the 2019 season, a wristband will be given to every participating tailgate member in the bus lot. This wristband allows them access into Tailgate Village, which will feature a live DJ, appearances by Billy Buffalo and the Bills Stampede, and food and drinks (available for purchase).
A tent, tables, chairs, and help setting up your tailgate will be provided from Tailgate Guys, a company that formed in Auburn, Ala., and helps with tailgate parties for six NFL teams and several major college programs. Fans can also bring in their own food and drinks at no cost.
A 20-person tailgating package costs $300 per vehicle, while the cost is $600 for a 40-passenger vehicle, and $900 for a 60-person vehicle. The cost per passenger is $15 apiece as part of the team-instituted tailgate packages, with money paid in advance of a parking pass being issued.
However, unlike in the past, if you want to tailgate in this new Tailgate Village, you will have to have a ticket to the Bills game, too, in addition to a tailgating wristband.
For any buses or limo buses that don’t want to have their guests tailgate before the game, they can purchase a $100 parking pass without a tailgate package.