The Erie County Legislature unanimously approved a resolution sponsored by Erie County Legislature Chairperson Betty Jean Grant (D-Buffalo) requesting the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to abolish its National Football League (NFL) Blackout Rule at its January 26 session.
“For 36 years, the FCC has enforced a blackout rule that disproportionately harms the fans of teams like the Buffalo Bills. Ralph Wilson Stadium, in Orchard Park, has more than 73,000 seats, compared to the NFL’s average for attendance last season of 67,000,” Chairperson Grant said. “The far greater number of tickets the Buffalo Bills must sell to sell out 72 hours before a game to ensure local broadcast of that game is more challenging to our NFL franchise than most other NFL franchises, given the smaller seating capacity of their stadiums compared to Ralph Wilson Stadium.”
“This archaic rule has not kept up with advances in technology and changes in economics. These days, NFL teams get more revenue from television and merchandizing than from ticket sales,” Chairperson Grant continued. “The blackout rule reduces the positive economic impact of increased sales of food, beverage and party supplies that retailers experience when a Buffalo Bills game is televised locally. This in turn has a negative impact on the sales tax revenues that accrue to county government to do such things as maintain Ralph Wilson Stadium, which is required by the current lease between Erie County and the Buffalo Bills.”