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Friday, July 13, 2012
Bills wrong to avoid new blackout policy?

By James Walker

The Buffalo Bills have an opportunity to take advantage of the NFL's new, relaxed blackout policy this upcoming season.

Instead, the Bills will punt.

The Buffalo News reports the Bills will not take advantage of the league's optional policy to avoid blackouts by filling 85 percent of the stadium. Previously, the NFL required games to be a sellout.

But Russ Brandon, chief executive officer of the Bills, told the Buffalo News things will remain status quo. Buffalo must sellout games in 2012 for games to be shown on television.

"We are not going to participate in the relaxed-manifest rule," Brandon said. "We are a volume-based business, and for us to be successful, we need to keep our ticket prices low and sell a greater number of tickets."

The Bills are well within their rights not to use the relaxed policy, and they probably won't be the last team to do so. But this is another reminder that the NFL, first and foremost, is a business. The primary point is to make money and sell tickets.

Buffalo did a great job of putting a competitive team on the field and believes it should have no problem with fan support. But it usually comes down to winning. That will be the biggest gauge to determine if Ralph Wilson Stadium sells out in November and December to avoid blackouts.