It isn’t official yet, but I have it on very good authority that the Buffalo Bills preseason game with Tampa Bay will be televised live at 4:30 p.m. Saturday on Channel 7.
Sources say the annual Kids Day game is approaching a sellout, which means the National Football League team plans to televise the game.
It is unclear if the Bills will announce the game is a sellout after Marc Honan, the team’s chief marketing officer, declared last week that this season the Bills will no longer announce games as sold out 72 hours before kickoff.
In years past, the announcement normally would have occurred at 4:30 p.m. today. Despite the new policy, the local network affiliates are bound to know a few days early if the games will be televised because of advertising sales.
Saturday’s game will be the fourth preseason game televised live this summer and likely will be the last since the finale Aug. 28 with Detroit is unlikely to be near a sellout. It will air on Channel 7 on tape day at 7 p.m. Aug.29.
This Saturday’s game is bound to continue the downward ratings trend of the preseason games.
The Bills loss to Pittsburgh last Saturday had a 16.2 rating, the lowest rating for the three preseason games so far. The nationally-televised Hall of Fame loss to the New York Giants on NBC had a 26.5 rating on Channel 2 and the victory over Carolina had a 17.3 rating on Channel 7.
This Saturday’s rating is likely to be lower than those three games because it is being played in the afternoon when fewer people are in front of their sets and there also will be 70,000 potential viewers in their seats at the Ralph.
In past seasons, the Bills regular season opener Sept. 7 at Chicago would have been carried on Channel 4, since local CBS affiliates have previously carried all games involving AFC opponents.
But this year there has been a switch – with some AFC road games on Fox and some NFC games on CBS.
The Bills-Bears game is one of the AFC road games on Fox. It will be carried on WUTV, the local Fox affiliate more commonly known as Channel 29. The Oct. 5 game at Detroit also will be televised by WUTV under the new policy.
Kenny Albert will do play-by-play, former Lewiston-Porter, Syracuse and Dallas Cowboy star Daryl Johnston will do the analysis and Tony Siragusa will be on the sidelines for the season opener in Chicago.
The Bills home opener against Miami on Sept. 14 will be on CBS, with Tom McCarthy doing play-by-play and Adam Archuleta doing the analysis.