Buffalo Bills fans fearing a television blackout of this weekend's game against the St. Louis Rams can breathe a little easier, as a local restauranteur has promised to purchase all of the leftover tickets to the game.
The team had announced that there were 10,000 extra tickets for Sunday's matchup, and with the underwhelming Rams coming to town, the tickets weren't likely to sell out.
So Russell Salvatore stepped up. Again.
Salvatore, who owns "Russell's Steaks, Chops and More" in Williamsville, N.Y., has pledged to buy every unsold ticket and help the Bills avoid their second straight blackout. It would have been the team's eighth blackout in its last 18 games.
"The impact and appreciation from the Buffalo fans last time I did this was amazing," Salvatore said in a statement. "This is my Holiday gift to them, as they certainly have been more than supportive of me."
This is the second time Salvatore has stepped up to ensure that a late-season Buffalo game is televised. Two years ago he made a similar pledge before a Bills-Patriots game. Salvatore bought the leftover tickets and distributed them to local military and youth charitable organizations.
"I bought the remaining tickets so the Bills could be televised locally for our community, and so that some of the less fortunate could enjoy going to the game," Salvatore said in 2010. "This is a Christmas present to the community, and I wish everyone in Buffalo a Happy Holidays! It feels good to do it, I love doing it and this comes from the heart."
Salvatore may have to give fans another holiday present this year, as CEO Russ Brandon recently announced that more than 10,000 tickets remain unsold for the Bills Dec. 30 clash with the New York Jets.