ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — This fall hundreds of thousands of football fans will flock to Highmark Stadium, and with the Buffalo Bills flying high, ticket prices are soaring as well.
“There’s people who work so hard, and they want to take their children or grandchild to the very first game, and they can't go,” Renee Gardner said. “They can't afford it."
Gardner is a lifelong Bills fan, and like many other members of the Mafia, she has gone to at least one home game a year. But as she battles a cancer diagnosis, she says it might not be in the cards this year.
“It's just very disappointing,” she said. “Having so many medical problems, that's one thing I could still do. And it's gone."
Gardner isn't the only one feeling the pain in her pocket. Over the last three seasons the secondary ticket market for Bills tickets has seen a 132% increase in cost.
Nick Giammusso, CEO of VIP TIX, says that is only going to get worse.
In the home opener against the Tennessee Titans, the cheapest seat on Ticketmaster tops $200. Last season Gardner paid less than a third of that.
There are a lot of factors in play: how good the team is, the opponent, and even the weather.
"They're a Super Bowl contender,” Giammusso said. “So the demand is there. When the team's winning, fans want to come out and support their team.”
But to show that support, you'll want to buy early.
“I usually tell my clients to be patient and things will settle down,” Giammusso said. “Well, I don't think we're at that this year. Patience isn't really going to help you.”
This leaves fans with the option to miss out or pay that higher price.
“I just can't believe that this is legal in America,” Gardner said. “Yes, we have free enterprise, but there's laws against gouging. There's laws against taking advantage of people financially, and it's just not OK.”