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June 30, 2012 @ 11:18 pm
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Bucs Blackouts May Be Going Bye-Bye

Written by Mark
Cook
Mark Cook

Mark
Cook

Editor-In-Chief E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
With 13 of the past 15 home games blacked out over the past two seasons, a recent change of heart – and policy – by the NFL, may make home blackouts a thing of the past.
The days of not seeing Tampa Bay Buccaneers home games on local television may soon become a thing of the past. According to a report Saturday in the Wall Street Journal and the Tampa Bay Times, the league has changed their blackout policy. Instead of requiring a complete non-premium ticket sellout 72 hours prior to kickoff, the change will allow blackouts to be lifted if 85 percent of tickets are sold.

The Buccaneers averaged 56,614 in their seven 2011 regular-season home games, which equates to 87 percent capacity. 13 of the last 15 home games at Raymond James Stadium have been blacked out

The Buccaneers aren’t the only team struggling to fill their home stadium, as attendance throughout the NFL has dropped 4.5 percent since 2007, the Wall Street Journal reported. Season ticket waiting lists, (the Buccaneers once bragged of having a waiting list in excess of 50,000), have become a thing of the past. According to the WSJ report, season tickets packages are available on the websites of 20 of the league's 32 teams.

The Buccaneers did a stadium wide season ticket price reduction for the most part entering this upcoming season. Prices were reduced for 80 percent of the seats at Raymond James, with the other prices remaining the same for a fourth consecutive season. The Buccaneers have also offered a zero-interest, 10-month payment plan in hopes of increasing their season ticket base.

Bucs co-chairman Ed Glazer addressed the ticket price lowering campaign last November.

"Listening to our fans, the overwhelming recommendation they made is more value and more options between the most affordable seats and the most exclusive," Glazer said.

Many reasons are thought to be at blame for the reduction in league-wide attendance, but maybe none more than the home experience people can get with the increase in high-definition television sets and home theaters.

The at-home experience has gotten better and cheaper, while the in-stadium experience feels like it hasn't," Eric Grubman, who is the NFL's executive vice president of ventures and business operations, told the Wall Street Journal. "That's a trend that we've got to do something about."

The NFL change in the blackout policy may have also been a result of several local and national legislators taking on the outdated blackout policy, which originally took effect in the 1970’s.

The Buccaneers declined to comment according to the Tampa Bay Times, but in addition to the lowering of season ticket prices, the organization has been proactive in increasing attendance, as seen last week when the team announced the home opener against the Panthers on September 9 would include free parking in selected lots along with 50 percent off of concessions in conjunction with honoring long-time Buccaneers cornerback Ronde Barber's 200th consecutive start.




Last modified on Sunday, 01 July 2012 00:01
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  • avatar


    I hope that they lift the blackout rule you never know that maybe one of a certain neighbor sees some of his neighbors then He said If they can go then I will go also. I think if They give the bay area certain discounts that other out of area fans can't get. I think that would be a win win sistutations on the hard to see areas!
  • avatar


    georgehicks, that is not a bad idea; all we have to do is lookno further south than on Dale Mabry at MacDill Air force Base and give them to our servicemen.
  • avatar


    Say it ain't so Catania & Catainia! Looks like our new 7 million dollar a year mystery no-show free agent corner back Mr. Wright just got nailed for drunk driving in an accident causing an injury to another driver out in LA? Took him to jail since he admitted drinking but refused breathalizer and field sobriety test. This is why you never take a free agent from Detroit! How many drunks from that team is it now?
  • avatar


    I agree with those who state that there is no experience like being at the game. I can accept most excuses like you're financially restricted, you live too far away or your health won't allow it. However, the one I still find unacceptable for Florida residents is that it's too hot. You live in Florida for crying out loud. Again, unless the heat would adversely affect some existing health issue you have, or you're just too young or too old to take the heat I believe you should tough it out for at least one game a year. If we expect the players to play well in the heat we should be able to cheer for them in the heat.
  • avatar


    Living in Arizona and never have ever been to Tampa, I did attend a Bucs/Cardinals game at the old Cardinals home Tempe Stadium. Wearing my Selmon throwback (this was like in 1997-1998). Going to a game is the best. I love watching at the bars around the US too. But I rarely watch at home, the interaction with other fans is too much fun to pass up. I wanted to go to San Diego to watch the Bucs in the Superbowl, and fond out later that a friend of mine is Junior Seau's cousin and had two tickets to the game. 6 of them went and drew lots to who got the tickets, he later found out I was a Bucs fan and told me he would've given me one of the tickets. Doh!!! Little too late. Anyways, games in person are the way to go if you can afford it.
  • avatar


    Makski" That's why I have Knology. The rest of the service sucks; but I do have NFL Network, including the bombastic Warren Sapp. For those of you who have trouble understanding the action at the game. Take someone with you. Do what it seems is always the case in the BB&T Bank owned seats behind me. Every game has different attendees. Usually the people are wearing the other team's colors; but seem to know far more about the Bucs. There's always one person who knows little about the game and the other who thinks he has to explain everything, oftentimes incorrectly, to him. Being a certified smarta$$, I feel obligated to defend my turf and point out when the "expert" who lives here is wrong. Last year the "dumba$$" of a pair of fans at the Cowboys game actually admitted it. He was from New York, lived in Ft. Lauderdale (not Ft. Worth) and was a Cowboys fan because, as a kid, his father was a cab driver who gave him a Cowboys hat he found. This guy and the "expert" were hilarious. Can't experience that kind of entertainment at home.
  • avatar


    Thank You Snarler and Macabee, Im writing the author from WSJ and waiting for a response. This is quite interesting.
  • avatar

    All we need now is for stinking brighthouse to add the NFL package to their programming. I can't believe this is still an issue. I hate having to miss one game a week because my cable provider does not carry the channel. What stinks is that I can't even PAY for it, it does not exist. I will be very happy when they finally figure out a deal. I am seriously thinking of changing providers.
  • avatar


    No need to be modest Nick, I read the article last year and it was informative. Anybody wanting to be informed about the NFL blackout rule, go read this.----------------http://www.bloguin.com/articles/football/the-absolute-and-maybe-shocking-truth-about-nfl-blackout-rules.html
  • avatar

    Actually, stuff I've been reading just now seems to indicate the law expired, and the NFL adopted the law as their policy afterward. So maybe the law part doesn't apply anymore (assuming the articles I'm reading are correct.) Here's one relevant quote "when Public Law 93-107 expired after a three-year trial, the NFL adopted its tenets voluntarily"
  • avatar


    Thats nice, but blackouts are not an nfl league rule. Its an act of congress. Its a law. The league can't just change congressional law. Maybe the league has some play in the amount of ticket sales it can play with that can make it seem like 85% is a sell out.. I do not know. will be interesting. I do agree its an outdated rule. The original intention of the law was to MAKE owners show home games once they sold out. Back in the day, ZERO home games were on local tv, sell out or not. Owners felt that it discouraged ticket sales. My original article with sources is available for searching on my site. Don't want to disrespect PR with a link.
  • avatar

    bucterp i gett what ur sayi,im 27 yrs old no kids and im loving it yea maybe i settle down sumday but for now im just a man running wild in the land. ive been to when the bucs played in baton rouge,and i also went to game there at ray jay im from el paso texas maybe ill be there this yr 4 the opener the pirate ship, cannons. man had a blast cant wait to be back there at least for 1 game
  • avatar

    ive been to when the bucs played in baton rouge,and i also went to game there at ray jay im from el paso texas maybe ill be there this yr 4 the opener the pirate ship, cannons. man had a blast cant wait to be back there at least for 1 game
  • avatar


    I think it depends on where some of us are in stages of our lives. Before I was married with kids, heck yeah...3-4 games a year. Now, I need to think twice before walking in with my 7 year old son (because I surely couldn't go without him). He's not familiar with the f bomb and other assorted drunk nonsense. Don't get me wrong, I love having a beer or two (or more). But, it's not the same as baseball, it's over the top. That passion makes football great, but it also can delay the fan experience for the young guys (or gals).
  • avatar


    I live over 5,000 miles away in Hawaii for the past 22 years. I still miss not being able to go to Buc games. You folks are lucky!
  • avatar

    I live in AZ and usually fly back for one game a yr usually the throwback game so it can bring back memories for me esp the Carolina Game last yr that brought back memories all right. My point is there is nothing like being at the stadium in the crowd with fellow Buc fans chearing on the team when score it makes you feel like your part of the experience when the cannons are going off and your high fiving the guy next to you. I was at the Philly game when Bryant hit the historic field goal and I hugged strangers for crying out loud and to see all 40,000 Eagle Fans walk out of the stadium with their heads down was priceless.
  • avatar


    Yeah yeah. Move back to FL and stop whining James ;) j/k FB me when you make plans for this year.
  • avatar


    I actually like the 3rd level seats better than the lower levels. My view seems obstructed the lower I sit. I can see plays developed better at the higher levels. I can use binoculars to isolate players on the line of scrimmage to see who is blocking it getting blocked. You don't get that from tv. You only get what they show you. That's why teams put their coaches high up in the box and have their own video crews for game film. With these new smart phones you can watch the game on tv if its not blacked out to get your tv replays and commentators input. That's provided the sun isn't too bright to see the screen on your phone.
  • avatar


    I live 7 miles from Ray Jay. I know that many others besides myself cannot handle the midday heat of the Stadium. But I disagree that you can get more outta the game by attending...some of us cannot tell what the heck is going on on the field up in the nose bleed seats. The big screens don't always replay and explain reffeerres calls nor can I always see the play on the field, who's blocking well, who isn't...missed tackles, I admit, are obvious! hahaha. It never ceases to amaze me that folks who like one thing often fail miserably in explaining why someone else doesn't "love" their love. I'd love to donate a couple of seats to my kids...except I can't afford one for myself. Stop trying to make myself and others guilty for not going to RayJay. Believe it or not, we are adults and can make good decisions for ourselves and our family without your sarcastic comments goading us on. Okay?
  • avatar


    Ladyfan, I am sorry if you felt like I was trying to make you or anyone feel bad; I was not. It was not meant to be a sarcastic comment. I am sorry that you took it that way. I guess I wasn't being sensitive to many fans financial problems and I apologize to that. I'll try to be more careful how I say it the next time.
  • avatar


    Yep, I got convinced that the Bucs have had their wake up call and I am supporting the team by now being a season ticket owner. My son will enjoy most of the games because it is too hot for me to sit there and watch a football game. By now being a season ticket holder I feel like I have talked the talked and walked the walked. I suggest to some of you who want to stay home to purchase a ticket and donate it to your children or grand children and let them become the new buccaneer fans. Of course I am only talking about those who can afford to spend 600 dollars and write it as a passing it on type of good feel.
  • avatar

    i just cant do the 1pm games its just entirely too freaking hot LOL i will def. try to go to any prime time games #GoBucs
  • avatar


    While i understand some fans choice to watch the games in the comfort of their own home, there just isnt anything like watching a football game live at the the Stadium. Yeah there is a cost that comes with it but for me it's worth it. I've been sitting with the same group for years. When I decieded to move seats this year i called up my tailgate group before doing the switch. 6 of us ended up moving together to better seats. We will still tailgate every week together with the rest but the new seats are awesome.
  • avatar


    You can go to the game or watch at home, that's your choice. But the NFL is all about making money - new money! The NFL is not making this change because of the fans or the philosophical reasons given for the in-stadium experience. They realize that the goose that lays the NFL golden egg is television revenue. They see the trends in television viewership and the increase in future TV revenues and they are doing what any good businessman does - go where the money is!!
  • avatar


    It's not hard to understand why watching at home on a 50-60 HDTV in 72-degree air conditioning, where beer costs 100% less, parking is free, food is better/less expensive, there's no line a the bathroom, you get nearly every play on the field replayable on the HDTV, the fat, sweaty opponent fan sitting next to you throwing out expletive after expletive (Bucs F*#king Suck) isn't sitting into your living room. Glad that the NFL finally got rid of the archaic rule. Look for local TV stations and the Bucs to buy up enough tickets to get 55k sold for home games. I for one will be less likely to continue buying season tickets after the 2012 season with the new rule since I'll be watching in the comforts of home.
  • avatar


    I've never missed a Bucs home game since 1976. Yes, it's hot. Yes, it sometimes rains. Yes, there are annoying fans from other teams. But you can't match the excitement from your couch or bar stool. I often use these analogies. Would you rather watch a dirty movie or actually be in the dirty movie? Would you rather listen to the radio or be at the concert? Anyone who claims it's better to watch the game at home or a bar must need a team of announcers tell them what is happening, but at the game they actually have to know what's going on and where to focus their attention. People used to use the excuse that they liked replays. Not a valid excuse with the Jumbotrons. There are absolutely things the Glazer family could do to enrich the game day experience. 1. Concessions from local restaurants featuring their specialties at reasonable prices instead of the current offerings that I rarely eat. 2. Pre-game and half-time interviews with players/coaches on the Jumbotrons not available on TV. 3. Half-time shows that are actually entertaining. Heck, we haven't even had the Frisbee dog in a while. At least they got rid of the "Here come the vacuums!" advertisement. But last season at that Carolina game with fellow poster Jon Gruden I wish someone had put a hood over my head and blacked out that game. In short, the game day experience is good when your team wins and bad when you have some obnoxious Steeler fan from my home town,chanting "Here we go Steelers, Here we go."
  • avatar

    As bad as the game was we had a good time and apprecitaed the generocity of giving us your tickets, my son got to meet Josh Freeman and take a pic with him and that was probably the highllight of the trip. Thx again Scu
  • avatar


    I live 4729 miles from Raymond James Stadium and just can't understand "fans" who prefer their own home theater to the whole stadium atmosphere. I'd love to have season tickets, because an ACed home is nowhere near to being in OUR HOUSE. I'll be back in Tampa in October and can't wait for my 18th & 19th game at the place we all call HOME. Go Bucs
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