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michael89156

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: November 29, 2012, 12:27:05 AM



Where are the Bucs fans? Not at RJS

 By Tom Jones, Times Staff Writer
 In Print: Thursday, November 29, 2012




Let's go back to last Sunday.

The Bucs went into their game having won four in a row, their longest win streak in four years.

They were 6-4, good enough to be in the postseason discussion and good enough that Sports Illustrated's power rankings had them at No. 10.

They were playing an attractive opponent, the 9-1 Falcons, who happen to be one of the Bucs' biggest rivals. The weather was perfect: sunny and a comfortable 70 degrees with zero chance of rain.

And the Bucs still didn't come close to selling out Raymond James Stadium.

The game was blacked out locally, meaning 85 percent of the nonpremium seats (or about 44,000 of those tickets) were not sold 72 hours before the game. It was the 19th blackout in the past 22 home games.

Considering the win streak, the opponent and the weather, you can't help but wonder: If fans in Tampa Bay aren't going to go to that game, which games will they go to?

As I noticed all the empty seats at Raymond James Stadium last Sunday, here are three thoughts that popped into my head.



1. This problem might not have a solution.

In six home games, the Bucs are averaging 54,057 fans, the fewest in the NFL. They are playing to 82.3 percent capacity, second worst in the league, ahead of only Miami.

The Bucs, before the season, reduced prices on 80 percent of their general admission tickets. They introduced 12-month payment plans and half-season passes. They offered fan-friendly wrinkles such as free Wi-Fi and enhanced instant replays.

They are winning games. They have affordable (by NFL standards) ticket prices, and they play an exciting brand of football.

So what gives?

The excuses are plenty. The economy is bad. No one is from here. It's better to stay home and watch the games on big-screen HD televisions.

Well, the economy hit Detroit hard, too, and the Lions are playing to 99 capacity. Arizona is a transient place, too, and the Cardinals are playing to 96 percent capacity. Most people have nice TVs, but 27 of the NFL's 32 teams are playing to more than 90 percent capacity.

Even in a bad economy, this area should be big enough that 60,000 people go to games. Seems to me that short of giving tickets away, there's nothing else the Bucs can do to bring in more fans.



2. The blackouts are deserved.

I don't want to hear that the Glazers should bail out the area by buying up tickets to avoid the blackouts. It's their job to sell tickets, not buy them. The Glazers are just like any other business owner. They have the right to sell their product for a profit.

Honestly, think about what you're asking. You want the Glazers to buy up tickets so that a bunch of other people can watch the game for free. In fact, when you think about it, fans are fortunate that sold out games are televised for free. You don't see the latest James Bond movie on your television for nothing if the movie theater is sold out.

Besides, the Glazers have stepped up in the past, eating tickets to avoid blackouts.

And let's not forget that the Bucs were the first team to accept the NFL's offer of eliminating blackouts if only 85 instead of 100 percent of the tickets were sold 72 hours prior to kickoff even though that switch costs the Glazers money.

None of this has worked. The team still can't avoid blackouts. Do you expect the Glazers to keep swallowing tickets and making concessions, especially when it has no effect on tickets sales?



3. The Rays are watching.

If I'm Rays owner Stuart Sternberg, I'm looking at Sunday's Bucs game and here's what I'm thinking:

The Bucs poured gobs of money into free agency, spending more than $140 million in the offseason to bring in Vincent Jackson, Carl Nicks and Eric Wright. They have a new coach, a new attitude and have put together a winning product. Their tickets prices remain among the most affordable in the NFL. They play in a stadium that is centrally located in the area and is considered among the best in the NFL.

And they still can't draw fans.

If I'm Sternberg, I'm wondering if this area can support my team no matter how good it is and where the stadium is located.

Oh, I did have one more thought.

Some people can't afford to go to games. I understand that. Some choose not to go. That's their right. I would never tell someone how to spend their money. And I'm not suggesting that fans don't care.

But this is not a good sports market. Not at the moment, anyway.

Television ratings are nice. So is buying jerseys and hats. But ultimately, a market is judged by how it supports its teams in person. Right now, the Bucs do not have Tampa Bay's support.

You can try to argue that point, but the empty seats at Raymond James Stadium say otherwise.

baybuc35

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#1 : November 29, 2012, 01:56:02 AM

Boom


rwg8823

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#2 : November 29, 2012, 03:22:57 AM

THANK YOU !!!! all the excuses mean nothing this town just isnt going to support this team anytime soon !!!! its sad but true !! the only games that sell out are when the visiting team fans buy 30% of the stadium (ie, dallas,pitt,saints etc )

Morgan

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#3 : November 29, 2012, 05:10:42 AM

Last I heard, the Glazer's return on investment for buying the Bucs has exceeded most/many other franchises.

Isn't that what owning a franchise is all about?

http://www.forbes.com/lists/2011/30/nfl-valuations-11_Tampa-Bay-Buccaneers_306470.html

Tom Jones needs to investigate whether the Bucs get the same amount of corporate support that the other teams get.  Local corps could support the franchise by buying a few tickets.  Having a franchise in the area lends to improved quality of life for the area - a good thing for corporations/businesses in the area. If the local sports franchises leave, Tampa Bay loses some its glamor as a place to live and work.

Hate

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#4 : November 29, 2012, 05:39:26 AM

So now its the responsibility of local businesses to buy tix and give them away? Ridiculous!!!

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 I thought Lovie said he wanted quickness & speed, even at the QB position?

Morgan

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#5 : November 29, 2012, 05:57:53 AM

So now its the responsibility of local businesses to buy tix and give them away? Ridiculous!!!
If you had any insight on the the issue, you'd ask if the other franchises in the league have more corporate support than the Bucs. Might explain why the Bucs have more blackouts than the rest of the league.

lyronmewis

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#6 : November 29, 2012, 06:41:42 AM

If Peyton Manning was coming to town, the stadium would be sold out.


nitey

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#7 : November 29, 2012, 06:43:54 AM

Hate, have to side with Morgan on this issue and it's a issue that I brought up on this board a few weeks ago. My company used to buy 25 season tickets, now they buy none. They had been doing that for as long as I worked at the company some 19 years. The owners have mentioned to me that the guy that owns a competitive business in Pasco also dropped his 20 season tickets a few years back. The reason: He couldn't even give away the tickets, nobody wanted to go.

I honestly believe that as the Bucs continue to improve, ticket sales will improve along with them. Assuming that the current team plays hard the rest of the way and gets to at least 8-8 with any exciting offense and improving defense. I think sell outs will happen next season. We have already heard that the Eagles game is sold out and the Rams game might sell out if the Bucs can beat either or both of the Broncos and the Saints and stay on the cusp of the playoffs.

It takes time to fill that stadium.  I expect the crowd level is higher than it was last season. It will be higher still next season. Some of those Corporations will buy tickets next season.

JMO.

Success is when Skill meets OpportunityFailure is when Fantasy meets Reality

Morgan

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#8 : November 29, 2012, 07:08:04 AM

It's always easy for dimwits like Hate to just say "fanbase sucks".  He probably works in McDonalds where minimal brain activity or critical thinking skills are needed.  I've always contended that the lower attendance numbers is a result of a variety of issues.

55k might be a pretty good attendance if you really look at it. Had the Bucs gotten corporate support in ticket sales, they very well could have gotten over the blackout hump.

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#9 : November 29, 2012, 07:29:32 AM

I think the area just needs a year to wash the taste of Raheem's team out of their mouths. We had the gangsta team that would roll in to Rayjay bumping 2pacs me against the world. This area doesn't relate to that. Next year will be different. This area has shown they can show great support for a team they love and I have faith.

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#10 : November 29, 2012, 07:32:03 AM

Last I heard, the Glazer's return on investment for buying the Bucs has exceeded most/many other franchises.

Isn't that what owning a franchise is all about?

http://www.forbes.com/lists/2011/30/nfl-valuations-11_Tampa-Bay-Buccaneers_306470.html



Yes , and that's why you never hear them complaining . The only one's complaining are the sportswriters.

There was a stretch of about 8 years that the stadium was sold out with a waiting list  , so claiming this area will never support the team is patently false. The inflation of ticket prices has simply become to much for this area .Prices steadily went up for years , while most of us continued to get paid what we were paid back when we could afford it. Even with the price cuts they are still too high for the majority of families to deem worth it. They might in other markets , they don't/can't here. That's really the bottom line.
: November 29, 2012, 07:37:58 AM Fire Mark Dummynik

What is your point? I was wrong? Ok. You win. I was wrong.

           

Hate

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#11 : November 29, 2012, 07:41:49 AM

Hate, have to side with Morgan on this issue and it's a issue that I brought up on this board a few weeks ago. My company used to buy 25 season tickets, now they buy none. They had been doing that for as long as I worked at the company some 19 years. The owners have mentioned to me that the guy that owns a competitive business in Pasco also dropped his 20 season tickets a few years back. The reason: He couldn't even give away the tickets, nobody wanted to go.

You're entitled to side with Morgan.... doesn't make her take the correct one.

So now we've gone from the Glazers buying up the tix and giving them away to businesses buying up the tix and giving them away. Its a handout anyway you try to spin it. Relying on corporate sponsorship to fill the stadium just reinforces my belief that we don't have a fanbase worthy of having an NFL franchise. The final sentence in your post seems to support that as well.

It's always easy for dimwits like Hate to just say "fanbase sucks".  He probably works in McDonalds where minimal brain activity or critical thinking skills are needed.

Says the poster known for constantly deleting her posts moments after creating them.

-------------------------------------------------------
   

 I thought Lovie said he wanted quickness & speed, even at the QB position?

muvlodge

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#12 : November 29, 2012, 07:50:35 AM

This guy is obviously a moron who wants what he wants now and only now.  This team has been in a tailspin for the last ten years.  The fans have completely tuned this ownership out.  In fact there is a hatred for this ownership by most fans as many of us know.  It is going to take quite some time for the fanbase to believe in this orginization again. Let me tell you, if anyone thinks that just because they went out and flashed some cash at this town, that magically the stadium is going to fill up, you have another thing coming.  Yes, this town can be a fair weather town but we are not stupid and are not going to be bought off after one season of righting the ship. IMO us fans are waiting to see a continued commitment to winning and not just a smoke and mirrors one time deal to win us over.  I am a 15 year season ticket holder and think that I, like other longtime season tix holders, may have slightly more insight than the average fan at home.  We are there week in and week out and see what they Glazerbaums have really done. Other than buying some players and a new coach not much has changed.  I am on board the ship still and like what has been done with the team to this point.  As long as they keep adding to the quality of the players the rest will fall into place in the next 2 years. This isn't going to happen overnight and I think the BUCS know that. Tom jones is a freakin idiot. I officially think he dislikes this team. All he does is bash it.
: November 29, 2012, 07:56:26 AM muvlodge

muvlodge

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#13 : November 29, 2012, 07:53:32 AM

And by the way, I hope the Rays are watching...........they will find out that in order to really compete you have to go out and get some of the highest paid free agents in baseball if they really want to get over the hump and stop shopping in the clearance isle!!!  Simple as that.  Give a new player 100 million not that injury ridden never will be Longoria...what a joke that deal is.

olafberserker

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#14 : November 29, 2012, 08:23:21 AM

And by the way, I hope the Rays are watching...........they will find out that in order to really compete you have to go out and get some of the highest paid free agents in baseball if they really want to get over the hump and stop shopping in the clearance isle!!!  Simple as that.  Give a new player 100 million not that injury ridden never will be Longoria...what a joke that deal is.

while I don't agree with your whole post, I thought the same thing about FA.
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