Buffalo Bills fans are known to be among the rowdiest tailgaters in the NFL.
- Rep. Reed says security and law enforcement already doing a good job controlling tailgating
- Congressman says team should pick up the tab for new "Tailgate Village"
- County Executive Poloncarz says it's about safety not money
But Rep. Tom Reed, R-NY-23, a self-proclaimed lifelong fan, said the organization and law enforcement have things under control.
"Having been to the games, having been to the experience, I mean they do a top-notch job in securing the parking lots, going through the efforts to make sure the tailgating occurs in the right places so I'm not as worried about that."
Reed is pushing back on a new policy that would require Bills fans in the bus or limo lot to pay $15 per passenger on top off the cost for the vehicle and tickets. He said if the team is requiring people to tailgate in a new designated area, it should pick up the tab.
"Obviously we're going to put pressure on them to void these fees because these are folks who just want to enjoy a Sunday game with their family or go and enjoy the game experience," Reed said.
Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz, D, said the Bills talked to the administration and agreed it would make sense to do this in the bus and limo lot but not in the regular tailgating lots. He said the policy isn't a money grab by the organization, but rather about safety and security.
"We were very worried," he said. "There were incidences in the past where it had gotten so dangerous that the sheriff's deputies and the security officers had to leave because they thought there were going to be riots and basically it was many, many very drunk individuals."
Poloncarz pointed out the majority of fans in the regular lots are unaffected and he doesn't believe the "Tailgate Village" fee is too much.
"It's not pricing them out," he said. “Pricing them out would be the hundreds of dollars more that you see in other markets. The price for a ticket in Buffalo is very, very inexpensive, especially considering other markets."
Reed said he's not looking on any legislative action right now to get the Bills to reverse course. He believes public pressure from him and other fans could be enough.