The Buffalo Bills Are the Least Televised Team in the NFL
Leave Central or Western New York and we wish you good luck in finding the Buffalo Bills on TV any given Sunday. The Bills are the least televised team in the National Football League.
The decisions on what games to show to each television market in America revolve around obscure rules buried deep within the League's broadcast agreements. In fact there is a whole website dedicated to deciphering what games are available on broadcast, and why.
The least televised teams are hit with the double whammy of not being featured on national broadcasts and are confined to a small geographic area
The FiveThrityEight blog recently profiled the oddities of NFL broadcast rules. They also compiled the most and least broadcast teams for the 5 years between 2009-2014. The most broadcast teams wouldn't surprise you, it's the Cowboys, Giants, Packers, Steelers and Patriots.
But the least broadcast team during the last five seasons, it's the Buffalo Bills. Not even Buffalo got to see their hometown Bills for all 16 games each season. The other teams that have a lack of national TV exposure? That would be the Cleveland Browns, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and St. Louis Rams.
So what's the reason? It's not just poor performance. Sure poor records will keep a team out of spotlight games like Monday, Sunday and Thursday Night Football. It also has to do with geography.
All television markets across America are designated one team to be their "primary" team while another team is a "secondary team." The least televised teams are hit with the double whammy of not being featured on the Thursday-Sunday-Monday national broadcasts and are confined to a small geographic area. For the Bills their Primary markets are Buffalo, Rochester and Elmira. Syracuse and everywhere else east in New York is a Giants primary market.