Buffalo Bucket List No. 6-9: Get your New York sports here
See the Bills, Sabres, Bisons and FC Buffalo for some upstate New York sports action
The Buffalo Bucket List is a series of articles highlighting my journey to achieve the full college experience in Buffalo, from Buffalo wings to oozefest.
Disclaimer: The Bills and the Sabres aren’t the best. But they are cheap. The Bills even look like they might be getting better. The Bisons, for those who don’t know, are a minor league baseball team, so they are also cheap and not that bad. And the new Buffalo soccer team, FC Buffalo, gives Buffalonians a chance for a fun day out without spending too much.
No. 6: Go to a Bills game (and tailgate)
The Buffalo Bills put together an almost impressive season last year – might as well go see them! Despite that the team’s name is a fun little pun, the Bills are currently the most competitive professional team in Buffalo. They narrowly missed a playoff spot last season.
The NFL season doesn’t start until mid-September so you won’t be able to see them this year, but if you’re looking for a good autumn day out with friends, Buffalo football is a great option.
The Bills play at Ralph Wilson Stadium located in Orchard Park. It’s roughly a half hour from North Campus by car. If you’re going to a game, you’re going to want to get there early to tailgate.
Ralph Wilson Stadium’s parking lot is a prime tailgating spot. Bleacher Report ranked it as the fourth best tailgating in the league. The neighborly attitude of Buffalo and Western New York as a whole is alive and well at Bills tailgates. Meet your fellow Bills fans, drink and be merry.
Bills tickets, at their cheapest, cost around $48 depending on the opponent.
No. 7: Go to a Sabres game
The Buffalo Sabres are currently in dead last place in the NHL – same as last year – which makes it pretty hard to convince people to come out to see them. The last few seasons have been a gradual rebuilding process.
So why should you see them? One word: underdog.
When I saw the Sabres this year, they were playing the Vancouver Canucks, the second-place team in the highly competitive Pacific Division. Tickets were only $20 and I figured even if they lose, it would still be a night out with friends.
Instead of seeing a weak team fold to a strong team, we saw a weak team wipe the floor with a strong team. The final score was 6-3. The crowd was ecstatic the entire time. Say what you will about Buffalo sports teams, but their fans are dedicated.
Although the Sabres aren’t the best team – in fact, they’re quite the opposite – they are a fun, scrappy team to watch. They play with a lot of effort and work hard for their fans.
The team plays at First Niagara Center in downtown Buffalo. The Metro Rail runs from South Campus directly to First Niagara Center and back, making it an easy and cheap ride.
No. 8: Go to a Bisons game
The Bisons is the only way to get a first-hand experience in Buffalo with America’s pastime – baseball. Although it may only be minor-league baseball, going out to “the old ballgame” is a classic American experience.
The Bisons are actually Buffalo’s most successful professional team with six league titles. They play at Coca-Cola Field in downtown Buffalo. The Metro Rail stops nearby and the best seats are only $15, so a day at Coca-Cola Field is a great way to find some inexpensive entertainment.
No. 9: Go to an FC Buffalo game
FC Buffalo is a new team, founded in 2009. They play in the National Premier Soccer League, the fourth division of soccer in the United States. Despite this, FC Buffalo has high ambition, aiming to break into the professional leagues of North America.
The team’s nickname is the “Blitzers,” named after UB alum and CNN newscaster Wolf Blitzer. How awesome is that? They currently play at Canisius College’s Demske Sports Complex.
Season tickets are only $50, roughly the price of tickets for one Bills’ game. Although FC Buffalo was only recently founded, it’s still a good value.
FC Buffalo’s motto is “For Our City.” In many ways, all of these teams could use this motto. Each team is uniquely Buffalo and plays hard for its fans. Although the teams aren’t the top teams in the nation, they are the top teams in the hearts of Buffalo natives. Go out and feel what makes Buffalo truly Buffalo.
Dan McKeon is a features editor and can be reached at email@example.com