The Buffalo Bills have changed their tailgating policies, with changes to the bus/limo lot.
With that, I reached out to Vice President of Operations and Guest Experience, Andy Major to ask the questions you might want answers to. It was more than just these Qs and As that you'll read below, so if you have any further questions about some of the policies, let me know. I'll either answer them to the best of my understanding, or pass it up the line to see what else we can learn about what's coming to the stadium this year.
Change is always hard, right? Well... maybe. So why are the Bills making these changes? First up, the big 35,000-foot view:
A: If you’re not tailgating, nothing really changes from last year… you need to purchase your permit in advance. It’s still $100, but there’s no redeposit required.
A: Tailgate Village, as part of the package, you receive a tent, a table, and chairs for your party. That number is dependent on the size of your group, and the location within tailgate village. So you will have a homebase. To help you get situated, the folks from Tailgate Guys will assist with the transport of your materials, like coolers and Kan Jam, from the bus, to your spot.
Most bus companies don’t allow grills. We will allow charcoal grills and there are some a la carte options in that regard that you can contact Tailgate Guys about.
Fans can purchase other a la carte options such as televisions with satellite feeds, if you want to keep tabs on pre-game coverage. There’s also a food and beverage package that can be purchased through their website.
A: I would say it’s kinda similar. With tailgate village, buying the bus or limo pass, you’re doing it in advance. Then we’ll know in advance there is a set capacity, we’ll know whether that lot is sold out, and we can communicate that to the fans. So that’s somewhat similar. We hope it gets to the point, where we’re able to communicate to the public that the lot is sold out. The Tailgate Village equates to just shy of 4,000 fans.
When you arrive, you’re going to have your parking permit, and similar to years past… the first bus to park, is the first bus to egress after the game. We’ll still park the buses and limo buses in a similar fashion. We’ll probably condense that area a little bit so we can fit more vehicles in there.
A: Yes. So if there’s anything that you need to put back in the bus, that’d be up to the individual customer. Then Tailgate Guys handles the cleanup and the post-event putting things away.
We’ll have garbage receptacles, cleaning people, security, guest services, and staff. We want this to be a fun place to be. We’ll have Billy Buffalo, and the drum corps, making appearances. We want this to be safe, but we think this will be a fun place to be, a unique spot that they’ll want to come to game in and game out.
The way tailgate guys would like to work it, is to take care of all the customers needs and questions. They’re trying to deal with everyone individually. They’ll be available to arrange what you want through their website or with a phone call.
We do think there will be some fans that take advantage of this… think of college campuses that do this. You have a bunch of people coming back for a reunion, and it’s all there for you kinda ready-made.
A: Per NFL’s best practices, that’s not a new policy, that is a policy that we’ve had. It’s not like we are checking everybody’s tickets, but if there’s an issue and the fan doesn’t have a ticket, that’s a problem.
The ticket part of it applies to the entire Bills parking lot.
That’s a policy that’s been in place for a few years. We really only have to enforce it when we have an issue with a fan. And then if it’s after kickoff, why are you in the lot when the game is going on. It helps the Sheriff and security manage safety, security and control over the parking lots. For tailgate village, you’ll get a wristband to ensure your entry.
A: If they don’t have a wristband, yes.
(Wristbands go out to all tailgaters from buses that plan to hit up Tailgate Village)
A: Yes. Many buses and limo buses are coming to the games and not tailgating by the bus. They’re going into the game, or to some of the other fan experience areas. The Billevard in front of the team store on the closed part of abbott road, or the Fan Zone, located in the ADPRO Sports Training Center (Field House). Or they’re going inside the stadium to the Scoreboard Plaza, or the Miller Lite Brew Pub to grab a beverage and watch some pre-game. For them, nothing really changes.
A: It becomes a cool fun place, and also a safe place. You’re not going to have vehicles driving around there. You’re not going to have groups gathered around one vehicle in the bus lot. The dangerous and unsafe behavior… hopefully that goes away. It becomes a destination.
My thanks to Andy Major and the Bills for helping me help you (and me) understand what's changing here. As soon as this release came out, I got a text about what it meant for the camper lot. It only means that Tailgate Village is moving in as the new neighbors.
The schedule is great this season. The changes might be upsetting to some, or might go over like gangbusters. We'll talk about it more on Thursday's show.
Bring on the season.
We talked with Major on Thursday morning and got some more answers for some of your questions. You can listen to the entire conversation below: