Brendan Keany

All About the Fan Experience for 20th Season at St. John Fisher

"We're the number-one fans in the league."

July 25, 2019 - 6:32 pm

PITTSFORD (WBEN - Brendan Keany) - Thursday's practice marked the first day of training camp for the 2019-2020 Buffalo Bills at St. John Fisher College - the 20th year that the franchise have traveled to Pittsford.

Emily Kearns serves as the manager of event services, and she says it's all about the fans.

"Our main focus is the fan experience," said Kearns. "Each year we're kind of tweaking little things here and there to give our fans the most access and the best fan experience that we can. Whether it's adding some new elements, some new photo opportunities and things like that, or opening up new areas along the field so that they have better views of practice."

The opening of training camp brought all sorts of Bills fans to the area. The Ray family is from the New York City area, and they make the trip every single summer to interact with their favorite players (Lesean McCoy and Zay Jones), as well as purchase some brand new merchandise.

"We're close New York City in Westchester County," said Jim Ray, who brought his sons Anthony and Kian. "At 3:30 am, we wake up, get these guys, drag them to the car, and they slept the whole way. We're the number-one fans in the league...that's all we can say."

Then, there are other people like the Pierce family, who attended Thursday's practice for their first time because their daughter Allison turned 8 years old. Allison had a lot of fun playing the interactive games for kids.

"You had to throw the ball into the hole, and you had to try and make it into their hands," she said.

Her father, David, says he really appreciates the kid-friendly style of camp and how easy it is to see and meet players.

"Oh, they love it," he said. "That's what it's all about - kids being out there and watching their favorite players."

Keeping in line with the importance placed on fan experience, there will be several themed days starting with Friday's practice with "Princess and Superhero Day."

"We also have a 60th Celebration Day where we're kind of celebrating a lot," said Kearns. "This is a big year for the Bills and for the NFL, so the Bills are celebrating their 60th season, and the NFL is celebrating its 100th anniversary, and then of course, we're at our 20th training camp at St. John Fisher, so that will be a fun theme day to celebrate all of those items that we have. Lastly is our Military Appreciation Day, which gives us a chance to really kind of give back to our veterans and active military members in the area."

There are some things that fans should be aware of before making a trip to St. John Fisher this summer, and one of the major changes is tickets.

"We do have three practices (not including the practice at New Era Field) that are ticketed, and it's all mobile ticketing, so it is a little bit new for our fans, but for those who have come to some of our other events this year, they should hopefully be familiar with it," said Kearns. "All of the information is right on, so if they have any questions, they can resort to the website for that."

Listen to the full conversation with Kearns below:

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