Buccaneers' owners Bryan and Joel Glazer were in attendance at Saturday night's humid but festive practice at Raymond James Stadium, and while optimistic, the brother's know the reality of today's economy may still make the days of sellouts and lifted blackouts difficult. Over the cheering crowds and booming music, Bryan Glazer took time out to speak with some members of the media as the night practice began.
"We are hoping that this happens this year," Glazer said. "Obviously the economy is still in bad shape here in the Tampa Bay area, but we think as the team wins, continues to move forward, the plan continues that the fans will start coming back yes."
Sounding extremely pleased with the fans reception, Glazer talked about the night practice and the open camp days for fans to attend.
"The turn out tonight is fantastic," Glazer said. "You know, look at all these people coming out on a Saturday night to have a good time. It is going to be a fun night. There are going to be fireworks, they are going to get to see the players competing against each other. They will have a great time.
"We set out to create this event last year. We wanted to have an event that the fans could come to see the players and also to have some fun. Everybody that came last year I am sure the word of mouth was great will be back tonight. Not only do they get to see the players working out on the field, but they get to see some skills competitions [and] the players competing against each other. Fireworks to end the night are always good too."
Glazer commented on the Buccaneers lowering ticket prices as well as the free practices for all the Buccaneer fans, despite their income status.
"We are trying to make the team as accessible as we possibly can to all the people in the community whether you can afford to come to a game or not," Glazer said. "You are still a Buccaneer fan. This type of event is great for those who cannot afford to come to our games. They get to see to see the players up close and have a good time."
The 2010 Buccaneers saw their entire home games blacked out and didn't record a sellout. Glazer is optimistic and commented on ticket sales so far for the upcoming season.
"There is an increase in obviously the popularity of the two night games, but we still have a ways to go," Glazer said. "We are still...the economy is still in the same situation it has been. We still have tickets to sell."
Glazer doesn't feel the NFL's lockout or labor strife will have any negative effect on the ticket-buying public or create any ill will.
"I think at this point today as we stand today most people are pretty much beyond that I think. The season has started as the same day it would have started anyways. Training camp started on time. So I think with all that said I think it is kind of in the rear view mirror right now."
Glazer feels good about the team's plan, his front office management, and the direction the Buccaneers are heading.
"The plan is on schedule. It is working great. We got the pieces we need to keep adding to it and we got a young team that is going to be good for a long, long time."
- Victoria Horchak contributed to this story