The Riviera Theater owner Don Livingston has been a Buffalo Bills fan for a long time. He was even a season ticket holder the last time the Bills made the playoffs—the 1999-2000 season. Now, he is hosting public viewing parties for all Bills games during the 2015 season.
“We’re big Bills fans,” Livingston said. “When we first got our commercial permission, we showed the Women’s World Cup Final in here—people came down and it was a lot of fun. I think that’s the driving thing.”
The Riviera charges $5 to view the games on the big screen. During the games, the snack bar is open and baked goods are available for purchase. Although there have been varying levels of attendance, Livingston considers the endeavor to be a success.
“It’s good and bad. I understand on a Sunday afternoon—especially in late fall when it’s 75 degrees and sunny outside—people got chores to do,” he said. “You’ve got to look at the entire picture. All in all, it’s been fun, people have enjoyed it, so that’s a success.”
During the Bills 41-14 thrashing of the Miami Dolphins on Sunday Sept. 27, there was a lively atmosphere inside the theater. Although there were 15 people in attendance, everyone appeared to be having a good time.
“The atmosphere will be the same as we’ve had with 12 people or 50 people: the atmosphere is positive, everybody roots for the [Bills],” Livingston said. Based on the last three weeks, Livingston said he will keep the Riviera open for the rest of the Bills games this season with one exception, due to a scheduling conflict.
The experience of watching a Bills game at the Riviera on the big screen was memorable. Beyond the awesome visual experience, listening to the commentators and the in-game sounds on a professional surround sound environment was incredible.
Most importantly, everyone in the theater was cheering on the Bills. Being in a crowd of likeminded fans makes watching games infinitely more enjoyable. This is why Bills Backers Bars have sprung up all over the world—part of being a Bills fan is being part of the Bills community.
As for his outlook on this season, Livingston is optimistic. It’s been 15 years since the Bills made the playoffs—19 since their last playoff win. Livingston explained that his confidence comes from new leadership in the organization.
“I think they’ve got real potential. I like the coach [Rex Ryan], I like the moves he’s done—a lot of them make sense,” he said. “I know it’s early in the season, but I think they’re going to do OK.”
Another source of confidence for Livingston is new Bills’ quarterback Tyrod Taylor. Taylor won the starting quarterback job over Matt Cassel and E.J. Manuel during training camp and he has delivered so far this season—he is the only quarterback to be in the top five in the National Football League in QB rating, completion percentage, yards per attempt, passing touchdowns, QB rushing yards and completions over 25 yards.
“This young kid, he looks sharp,” Livingston said. “He’s been very confident. You even look at the loss [against the New England Patriots] ... he still had great numbers. They scored a lot of points. They’re over 100 points in three weeks. ”
The Riviera will be open on Sunday Oct. 4 when the Bills host the New York Giants at 1 p.m.