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Buffalo Bills will not take advantage of blackout rule

The Buffalo Bills will not be taking advantage of the NFL's new relaxed policy regarding blackouts, Bills CEO Russ Brandon told the The Buffalo News on Friday.

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"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 San Diego Chargers and Indianapolis Colts have similarly decided against changing their blackout policies.

On its surface, the rule change, which requires teams to sell just 85 percent of their tickets to avoid a blackout, would help teams that have struggled -- or anticipate struggling -- to fill their stadiums. The cost of adopting that policy change, however, is that teams that opt to reduce the threshold must share a greater portion of ticket revenues with the visiting team. That aspect of the rule was a factor in the Chargers' and Colts' decisions not to lower their standards.

Lost revenue might have also played a role in the Bills' decision. Brandon pointed out that, based on ticket sales in recent seasons, their home games would have been blacked out even under the new policy.

"You need to look at it from a factual perspective, and the facts are simple," Brandon said. "This relaxed-manifest rule would not have affected the blackouts."

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