Buffalo (WKBW.com) The Bills are getting ready to unveil the teams new uniforms on Friday night, but much of the talk this week continues to be about the NFL Lockout. Bills CEO Russ Brandon addressed the media on Thursday. Eyewitness Sports Director Jeff Russo has more in this edition of SportsBlast 7.0. A full transcipt from Brandon is below.
BUFFALO BILLS CEO RUSS BRANDON
FRIDAY'S UNIFORM UNVEILING
Thursday, June 23, 2011
On the plan for tomorrow night's uniform unveiling:
It's going to be a great event. We have over 17,000 tickets distributed right now for the event. (Ralph Wilson Stadium) Gates open at 5:45 pm and the (parking) lots open at 4:30 pm. We've got a lot of family-oriented activities for young people. And we've got pyrotechnics, a great stage and we're going to have a lot of fun with it. The military is going to be involved in the unveiling. The Tom Sartori band will be here as well. We're going to follow that up with the debut of the highlight video from last year and then we're going to play the movie The Blind Side.
On what went into the decision to change the uniforms:
It was a long process and we went through it organizationally. We looked at it from every different angle and felt that it was time to take a look at the uniform. It's an 18-month process for the National Football League to go through any type of uniform change. It was an organizational-wide decision with Mr. Wilson and everybody within the organization - players and coaches - and we're excited about it. It's going to speak to the storied franchise that we are and also highlight one of the great brands with the charging buffalo.
On if the new uniforms will be worn for all 16 games in 2011, or if there will be a 'throwback' uniform this year:
This year we will have the home jersey and the away jersey. There will be no throwback this year. We will not rule that out in the future.
On if the new uniforms will include a return to the blue used in previous uniforms in team history:
You're going to have to be here at 6:45 PM tomorrow.
On who will be unveiling the uniforms:
We are working with our local military. It's going to be a great event. The alumni this year, their top cause is the Wounded Warrior program that we're tied in with as well. And I think it'll be a great treat for not only the military but for our great fans and it'll be a very emotional day.
On what level of optimism he has following this week's owner's meetings:
I'm not going to comment on anything other than when you look at optimism, anytime the principles are speaking at the table that has to be viewed as optimistic. So that's where they are right now and that's what we're all hoping for.
On if he senses any consideration for the small-market franchises:
I know that we focus on the here and now here in Buffalo. When you look at it from our standpoint we're always looking to do everything in our power to keep this team viable and as you've heard many times from me regionalization, regionalization and regionalization. Ten years ago when we went off to Rochester that was step one in the plan and a few years ago when we went north to Toronto that was another step in our process. When you look at our region of totality it's a very large market and we're looking to bring fans back to Ralph Wilson Stadium. It's been a very successful venture for us and we're going to continue that process moving forward.
On keeping the team viable in Buffalo:
I think the response is we just focus here and we focus now on everything that we can control and that's keeping this building full, keeping all of our business platforms full. We're a volume business. We're a very affordable business as you know here with our ticket prices and that's what we focus on. My job and everyone's job in this organization is to focus on this organization and our fans and that's really what we do on a day-in and day-out basis.
On if the region is economically viable long-term:
We think that's been a big part of it for us. Obviously in Rochester when we went to training camp there they play a very large role. On any given Sunday there's 14 or 15 percent of the fans in Ralph Wilson Stadium from Monroe County. And when you look at what's happened in Toronto, we've had a 44 percent increase in season ticket holders from the Southern Ontario marketplace in just a few years. And again, on any given Sunday you're looking at 15 to 16 percent of our fans from Southern Ontario. Regionalization works and it will be a linchpin to everything that we do from a business standpoint moving forward.
On what it will be like to see the players wear the new uniforms for their first home game:
The players have been excited about the new uniforms. We've had to go through some TV testing at the league level and the players that have seen them from a look and performance standpoint and everything that they're involved with have been very excited about it. I think the players are going to be fired up and I think our fans are going to be very fired up.
On if the plan is to have training camp at St. John Fisher College:
We're going business as usual. Our preparations have been exactly the same that they've been in years past. St. John Fisher is a great partner and President Bain has been very easy to work with in this and we're planning and expecting to go to camp like we have every year.
On if there is a drop-dead date for camp at St. John Fisher:
There are different elements to it and we're going to keep it fluid as an organization and St. John Fisher has been a great partner on that front. Right now, I think it's a fluid situation.