No, it didn’t have anything to do with their ugly Week 1 performance against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Buffalo Bills, embarrassed at home in their season opener, have recently lost more than 700 season ticket holders. This came after the team and local authorities implemented an update on their COVID-19 vaccination policy. The team reportedly gave those Bills fans the opportunity to get a full refund — with a catch — if they didn’t approve of the new mandate.
The Buffalo Bills have updated their policy for fans at Highmark Stadium
When the Bills hosted the Steelers at Highmark Stadium in Week 1, the only requirement for fans was to wear masks when they were inside the concourse. According to the Democrat & Chronicle, fans did not have to wear masks while at their seats. Those rules quickly changed when it was clear fans weren’t following the guidelines.
Now, it’s more than just wearing masks.
With COVID-19 cases rising and those fans not adhering to policy, team and local officials require fans to provide proof of vaccination. Starting with Sunday’s game against the Washington Football Team, fans must show proof of having at least one vaccination shot. The same holds true for the Week 4 game against the Houston Texans.
By Oct. 31, all fans attending Bills home games must be fully vaccinated. The Bills are one of four NFL teams with vaccination mandates. The others are the Seattle Seahawks, New Orleans Saints, and the Las Vegas Raiders.
More than 700 Buffalo Bills fans have turned in their season tickets
When the Bills put the new policy in place, they allowed their season ticket holders a brief window to get a full refund. That, however, came with some fine print attached.
If fans utilized the refund policy and surrendered their tickets for the season, they lost their seniority. If they eventually choose to get back in with the team as a season ticket holder, they will be forced to go to the end of the line where the lesser desirable seating may be. Season tickets in Buffalo are a hot item as the team sold out of them prior to this season.
Those seats will now be made available to those on the season-ticket waiting list. If they aren’t claimed, they will be made available via single-game sales.
Las Vegas Raiders fans faced a similar situation
The Raiders implemented a similar policy but not as strict as the Bills.
According to Ticket News, the Raiders also have a vaccination-only policy. Like the Bills, they allowed season ticket holders the opportunity to opt out this season. Ticket News stated roughly 700 Raiders season-ticket holders, accounting for nearly 1,800 tickets, pulled out this year.
The Raiders gave fans the opportunity for a full refund, or they could roll over their payment for next year’s tickets. If they chose to put their money toward their 2022 season tickets, they weren’t forced to surrender their seats as Bills fans were.