BUFFALO, N.Y. — We are a few days away from the Buffalo Bills home opener in Orchard Park. And fans who head down there Sunday when the Bengals come to town will see some changes from how things worked last year.
The biggest change is one we've heard about for a while now: no more tailgating by your vehicle in the bus and limo lot.
Instead, you'll have to head to the specially-marked tailgate village, as a response to the unruly behavior the Bills say they've seen before games.
"Tailgate village will be a great space for tailgating passengers of buses and limos of 11 passengers or more," said Andy Major, the vice president for operations and guest experience for the Bills.
Depending on how large your group is, getting in could cost you from $300 to $900.
"We'll include the tables the tents and chairs for the fans includes a parking pass includes live disc jockey music," Major said.
The Bills say fewer people are buying bus and limo parking permits so far because of that extra cost.
Inside New Era, there are new areas for fans to get ready for the game with the Miller Lite Brew Pub and Labatt Scoreboard Square.
"For fans to enjoy the Billevers live band and other activations food and beverage etc. we'll have Bills alumni in there as well," Major said.
The Bills say they've made progress in improving fan behavior — from averaging 30 arrests and 140 ejections per game a decade ago to averaging three arrests and 46 ejections per game last season.
"We're stressing all of our efforts to make this a safe pleasant experience for everyone we have seen increased good behavior on the part of the fans and we all applaud that," said Erie County Sheriff Tim Howard.
2 On Your Side also learned about plans Sunday pre-game to honor Pancho Billa, the Bills superfan who is beloved by so many and died from cancer back in May.
The Bills plan on celebrating his life with a 90-second video montage prior to kickoff on Sunday.
Pancho Billa, whose real name was Ezra Castro, hailed from Texas. He was one of the biggest Bills fans you could find. He even got to announce the Bills third-round selection of Harrison Phillips in the 2018 Draft.
Before kickoff on Sunday, Ezra's mom, girlfriend and his two kids will be on the field and will be presented with game balls and jerseys from Terry and Kim Pegula.
To continue to help kids in memory of Pancho Billa, the Teacher's Desk based in Buffalo has collected thousands of backpacks that have been and continue to be donated to kids here and in Texas. On Sunday 100 local kids will be on the field with brand new backpacks and school supplies.
Pancho Billa was 39-years-old continues to be an inspiration.