Bills fans have major sticker shock with PSLs of up to $50K for club seats


Staff member

Melissa Taylor knew the personal seat licenses for her pair of club-level seats at the new Buffalo Bills stadium would be expensive.

But she wasn’t expecting them to cost $20,000 apiece.

Taylor, whose family has had season tickets for 56 years, was among the first Bills season ticket holders to be able to preview the new stadium, projected to be open in 2026, and learn how much seats there would cost, with personal seat licenses.

She loved the seats she was shown. She didn’t love the price.

“It was heartbreaking. I walked out of there thinking, ‘Do I just have two seasons left?’ “ Taylor said.

The first personal seat license prices for seats at the new Buffalo Bills stadium have come with major sticker shock for some fans.

Several fans who were some of the first to tour the new Stadium Experience Center and asked not to be identified, along with others posting on social media, have said they were presented with prices between $15,000 to $50,000 per seat for PSLs in the club sections.

Those will be some of the most exclusive seats in the $1.7 billion stadium – and they also are likely to come with the most costly PSLs.

The experience center in Amherst has only been open for a few weeks and the Bills so far have only invited some of their suite and club season ticket members to see it and sit down with a sales representative.

No general admission season ticket members have been through the experience center and been presented with PSL prices yet, and that may not happen for months. Those PSL prices are expected to be significantly different than the prices for club seats.

Although sitting in the club sections comes with a new, roomier and upgraded experience, fans have said the PSL prices caught them off guard.

And it’s begun causing some consternation among season ticket members. Some have taken their gripes to Facebook on current Bills Mafia Facebook pages and a new page recently set up, Buffalo Bills New Stadium: Season Ticket Holder Discussion Board.

PSLs, which must be purchased for the right to buy season tickets, will be required for all season ticket holders at the new Highmark Stadium. It’s a nearly three-decade-old concept but relatively new to Buffalo. Purchasing a PSL will give fans ownership of that seat for the life of the 30-year lease in the new stadium. That also means they can sell the PSL after the first year of ownership.

Right now, the Bills have 63,000 season ticket holders and a waiting list with thousands of names on it.

Jeremiah Ranzie, a Bills season ticket member since 2006, said he was also quoted $20,000 per club seat for a PSL and he couldn’t even choose an aisle seat because the team is requiring that all aisle seat owners purchase a block of at least four tickets. He won’t pay that price but is still considering his options.

“No way I could do (that),” he said. “I’m not taking out a small mortgage for, what, eight (or nine) regular season games.”

For the Bills part, the team has said PSLs for the new stadium will be as reasonably priced as any around the league, given that Buffalo is one of the smallest market teams in the NFL and in hopes of not pricing out too many fans.

Adding to the challenge facing the Bills is the makeup of its season ticket base, which is dominated by individual ticket holders, for whom a PSL costing tens of thousands of dollars may be too costly. That’s unlike other NFL markets, where teams can tap into a much larger and deep-pocketed corporate base for the priciest seats.

While PSLs are an unpopular added expense for some fans – even causing fans in some markets to give up their season tickets altogether – PSLs have become an integral part in the building of new stadiums since the late-1990s.

PSLs have been used to help pay for more than half the new stadiums in the league and also have been used to help fund stadium renovations. At least 20 of 32 NFL teams have initiated them in some manner.

The Bills PSLs will be “built for Buffalo,” according to Colin Cook, vice president for sales and marketing for the new stadium at Legends, the consultant handling PSL sales for the Bills. “Because we need Bills fans in the venue.”

“We want people to make an informed decision because when they’re buying a PSL, it is a long-term decision,”
says Colin Cook, vice president for sales and marketing at Legends for the Bills’ new stadium.
Joshua Bessex, Buffalo News

That assurance hasn’t helped some season ticket members in club seats feeling the potential pain in their wallets.

Fans say the Bills are asking $50,000 for the premier second level club section at the 50-yard-line – the Founders Club, $20,000 for the East Club, seating on the second level that runs the entire length of the stadium, and $15,000 for the Field Club, which is in the lower bowl behind the Bills bench.

That includes a requirement that those fans who don’t pay the entire sum up front put a 20% down payment at the time they sign an agreement to reserve the seats in a stadium that won’t open for two more seasons. Those fans then have to make monthly payments, interest free, to pay off the balance before the stadium opens.

Another option is to finance the PSL purchase at an interest rate of more than 10% over 10 years, which would add more than $12,000 in financing costs to each $20,000 PSL.

Fans said they are being showed pricing for seats comparable with their current seat locations. If they want to downgrade to seats with less expensive PSLs, the team is telling fans they must wait until other season ticket holders in those sections have been given their pricing.

Taylor said she asked about moving to a less-expensive section during her more than two-hour visit to the experience center.

“That wasn’t even an option for you,” she said. “I felt it was, basically, these are your seats. You take it or you leave it.”

That rankled Taylor, whose season tickets have been passed down from her grandfather, who first bought them in 1977, to her father and now herself.
“Seniority means nothing. It doesn’t matter,” she said.

Taylor said she told the team she won’t be buying club level seats she was shown. She also has an account with a pair of season tickets in the 100 level. She is hoping to buy four seats there, but she will have to wait to see how much those seats and their PSLs will cost.

“I grew up loving Buffalo Bills football, and it’s something that my family does together,” she said. “I just I can’t imagine that not being a part of my life.”

Club seating provides a spacious, lavish experience, some including a picturesque view inside and outside the stadium, with large private lounge areas for gathering and procuring upscale food and beverages.

But with those PSL prices on top of the higher ticket prices that are expected for all the 50,000-plus seats in the new stadium, it’s a difficult proposition for some club season ticket holders.

The Bills will not release PSL prices publicly, but a survey conducted about two years ago by the team gave an initial indication of what PSL prices might be like. The PSL prices noted in the survey start at $500 for reserve seating and reach as high as $16,500 for premium seating. A PSL for a field-level club seat located between the 40-yard lines was priced at $24,250 in the survey.

Some have speculated that those prices may have risen because the Bills’ share of the stadium cost keeps increasing. The stadium started at a projected $1.3 billion and is now projected to cost around $1.7 billion.

The sale of PSLs are expected to raise up to $200 million, according to stadium financing experts who spoke to The News. It will reduce the out-of-pocket cost to owners Terry and Kim Pegula for the team contribution to the project. The remaining $850 million for stadium construction will come from taxpayers – $600 million from New York State and $250 million from Erie County.

According to reports, PSLs raised $600 million toward the $5 billion SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles for the Rams and Chargers, which opened in 2020. The Raiders, who moved from Oakland to Las Vegas, used PSLs to raise about $400 million to help pay for their new stadium, where they also began play in 2020. Fans paid anywhere from $500 to $75,000 for a PSL.

“That’s a priority, and one of the first things that I’ll dive into,” Bills new COO Pete Guelli said of PSLs when asked Wednesday.

“The good news is that I’m working with a PSL model in New York (with the Giants), so I’m very familiar with how that operates,“ he added. “The bottom line is that you have to have a value proposition that works for your fans.“