Bills did NOT send survey to fans about attendance

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Photo credit Pegula Sports

ORCHARD PARK (WBEN) - To clear up some confusion, the Buffalo Bills did not send a survey to season ticket holders asking several hypothetical questions about potentially attending home games this fall.

According to a team spokesperson, the survey was sent by the NFL, which sends a similar questionnaire to season ticket holders for all organizations across the league every year, and the survey was not specific to the Bills.

Example question: "As you think about your gameday experience, if fans are allowed in stadium, would the following factors be more or less important to you than they were in the past?"

  • Stadium navigation (stadium/gate entry and exit, people flow in-stadium, crowd control)
  • Helpfulness of gameday staff
  • Food & beverage health and safety protocols
  • In-game entertainment 
  • Tailgating
  • A more unique or custom experience at Bills Stadium
  • Health and safety in-stadium
  • Arrival/departure to/from stadium

Example question: "If fans are allowed in-stadium this season, which of these services do you believe are necessary for you to feel safe on Bills gamedays?"

  • Additional staffing to clean the stadium
  • Hand sanitizer provided by the Bills for yourself
  • Additional signage in-stadium outlining safety protocols
  • Additional medical services in the stadium
  • Displaying wait times outside restrooms
  • Mandatory health questionnaire for fans to pass prior to game attendance
  • Checking fans' temperatures before they enter the stadium
  • Physical distancing enforcement 
  • Face coverings provided by the Bills
  • Disciplinary action taken against fans who do not follow safety policies

Regardless, some Bills fans were eager to share their thoughts on potentially allowing people in the stands, even if it is simply a hypothetical question for the time being.

"I don't think I would feel comfortable going to a game with 100% fans for obvious reasons," said season ticket holder Nick Bittner. "It depends what the capacity is - I guess would be my answer - and I'm not really sure right now."

However, Bittner noted that too low of a capacity percentage would kind of take the point away from being inside the stadium in the first place.

"The whole reason that I would want to go to a Bills game is for the atmosphere," he added. "If the atmosphere isn't what it normally is, what's the point when you can have a better view watching it on TV, and you don't have to spend your whole day and a lot of money eight Sundays a year?"

Arlo Allen-DiPasquale is thinking along the same lines as Bittner, saying that he absolutely wouldn't attend at full capacity, but the idea of limited capacity is an intriguing idea to a certain point.

"I think that might make it a little bit more of a tougher decision, but from what I've read and my understanding is that restrooms and that sort of thing tend to be the biggest problem," said Allen-DiPasquale. "While it would certainly mitigate some of my concerns, I think (it would be best) to wait until there's a vaccine to go to a game."

Like Bittner, Allen-DiPasquale thinks the at-home viewing experience has become so good that it will likely lead him to make a conservative decision if given the opportunity.

"With a 48-inch HD TV, I think going to the game, for me, is about the tailgating and that experience more than actually watching the game, so that's what I'd be missing out on more than seeing the game..."

However, there are fans like Eric Bischof who feel comfortable enough to attend, saying people are going to get together to watch games anyway.

"I would still go," Bischof, saying there would obviously need to be some sort of capacity limit enforced. "The experience is definitely not the same, and if that's what you're looking for then by all means, stay at home and watch it from home.

"With people being displaced out of the stadium, you know they're going to gather in parties, so either way, you're going to have people gathering," he continued. "I would say in a stadium environment, it's a little more controlled and monitored."

Of course, nothing has changed in regard to New York State's rules about fan attendance at sporting events, so for now, Bills fans will have to watch games elsewhere.