By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) -- Is the frigid forecast scaring away the hearty souls of western New York from attending Saturday night's Patriots-Bills playoff game in Orchard Park?
The ticket prices as of Thursday morning would seem to indicate that to be the case.
For whatever reason, Buffalo Bills fans -- who proudly displayed their title as "Best Fans In Football" on a billboard near Gillette Stadium in each of the past two years -- aren't overly eager to head to Highmark Stadium on Saturday to cheer on the Bills against the hated Patriots.
From Ticketmaster's official website, some resale tickets are available in the 300 level of the stadium for under $30. A whole lot more are available for under $40, as well as some seats in the 200 level. Seats in the lower bowl are available for as low as $60, and some lower bowl tickets with a face value of $150 are available for almost half that price, at $80 apiece.
Over on StubHub, some tickets are available as low as $26. Lower bowl end zone tickets are there for the taking at $60, as well.
"You typically never see a playoff game this low," April Martin of Ace Ticket told WBZ-TV's Zinnia Maldonado.
All of the ticket resale sites have loads of tickets listed for sale well below face value.
(All prices are as listed, before fees.)
(For some contrast, the cheapest tickets for the Bengals' home playoff game cost $199 on StubHub. The cheapest Bucs tickets are $188. In Dallas, a standing room only ticket starts at $160. The get-in-the-door price in Kansas City is $106. Only the Rams, a city that's still reacquainting itself with its new football teams, have low prices, but even their cheapest ticket on StubHub is $79.)
Even with the circumstances -- the single-digit temperatures expected, the COVID-19 restrictions that makes it more difficult for Canadian fans to cross the border to attend the game, general COVID-19 concerns, etc. -- this is a most bizarre situation. For one, the COVID concern explanation doesn't really fly, though, when almost 65,000 people attended the Bills' regular-season finale against ... the Jets. Roughly the same number of people came out for the Bills-Falcons game a week earlier. One would logically envision more demand for a playoff game.
And really, the cold doesn't work as an excuse, either. It's Buffalo. It's Lake Erie. It's January. Sure, it's a little colder than the normal level of cold, but ... these people surely own some jackets and mittens. This isn't like a cold snap hitting Jacksonville and leading to mass hysteria. It's ... Buffalo. Throw on some snow pants, load up on hand and feet warmers, and have a night. Sounds like a fun time for a football-loving city.
On top of that, there's also the fact that Bills fans haven't had too many opportunities to attend home playoff games -- or any playoff games for that matter -- for a large chunk of their lives.
The Buffalo Bills hosted zero playoff games from 1997-2020. The Buffalo Bills played in zero playoff games from 2000-2016. The Buffalo Bills won zero playoff games from 1996-2019.
The Bills finally won two playoff games last year -- both at home, but with capacity restrictions -- before losing in the AFC Championship Game. And with a wide-open AFC field this year, and with a hated divisional opponent in town for the playoff opener (very possibly the Bills' only home game of this postseason), it's a bit strange for an excuse such as "being cold" to seemingly impact so many Bills fans for this occasion.
As such... the Bills fans who do attend shouldn't be surprise if and when they find themselves interacting with a few more Patriots fans than they'd hope to see on a night like this one. Cheap tickets and a quick 7-hour drive due west will certainly prove to be an appealing choice for crazy Patriots fans who are sure to see this market oddity as a major opportunity.
for more features.