Bills fans react to new rules at Ralph Wilson Stadium

Posted at: 09/08/2013 7:18 PM
Updated at: 09/09/2013 5:56 AM
By: Joangel Concepcion

It may have been a different experience for people attending the Buffalo Bills game Sunday.

During training camp News10NBC had a conversation with Bills Vice President Andy Major about an effort across the NFL over the last couple of years to improve the experience for fans.

Starting Sunday, the Bills wanted to tighten security at Ralph Wilson Stadium and cut the time it takes to get to your seat.     

Here's some of what fans experienced at Sunday's game. Bottles are no longer allowed at tailgate parties. You have to bring your beverages in cans and pour them into a plastic cup. For entry to the stadium officials are asking fans to leave all bags behind. They will allow a select few, like a one-gallon clear plastic freezer bag. Women may carry a small clutch, but it can be no bigger than the size of a hand and has to be see-through.

News10NBC headed out to Buffalo Sunday to find out what fans think about the new rules.

The NFL's Security Committee voted to limit bags in stadiums less than a month after the Boston Marathon bombings. Even though the rules are meant for everyone, it's the female fans who seem to be affected the most.

For thousands of Bills fans it's the most wonderful time of the year. But this season, officials say there will be no bottled beer.

Some fans don't seem to mind that rule.

“I don't think it's been that big of a deal. You can buy canned beers instead of bottle beers, so it's not like it's something that's hard to find. So I don't think it's been that big of a problem after all,” said Christy Swiatkowski.

Others were fine with the rules the way they were before

“I was a kid since I've been going here and we're not free as we used to be, where we park, what we bring,” said Kathleen Bartholomew.

Bartholomew and her dad have been season ticket holders for 23 years. She says the most frustrating part about these new rules is the one that limits her purse size.

“I don't even know if I could bring this is. Yep. This is it,” said Bartholomew.

Other female fans tailgating on Sunday told News10NBC they didn't mind just bringing in a small bag.

“I've got my ID, my license in my pocket and I don't need anything else but myself and that game,” said Damilla Daniel.

News10NBC started to see more and more women questioning the rule closer to the stadium.

“Women need room. I have his stuff in here. I have my stuff in here,” said Karen Burger.

“Do you think it's fair?” asked News10NBC's Joangel Concepcion.
“I think they could have searched it and that would have been okay and they would have seen there's nothing in it,” said Burger.

Some went all the way back to their cars to return their bags. Others took advantage of clear plastic bags that were another option for women. Security was passing them out at the entrance for free. But still, some were inconvenienced.
“I'm aggravated. As big as an index card you have to bring a purse? What are you going to hold in that? What re you really going to hold in that? I'm not very happy right now,” said Andrea Drew.
The bag rule is something that is being enforced in stadiums throughout the nation. Officials say the policy is not meant to make the experience more difficult, but it's to make sure everyone is safe. They say they believe that in time everyone will get used to the rule and appreciate it more.