Despite heavy marketing and choosing a league-allowed 85 percent ticket sale option, the Buccaneers game against the Panthers will be blacked-out locally. This will be 14 of the last 16 games to not be seen on local television.
Despite a new coaching staff, millions spent in free agency, and 80 percent of ticket prices lowered, the first game of the 2012 season against the Carolina Panthers failed to sell out within the 72-hour deadline, and will be blacked-out locally.
With the announcement of Sunday’s game not selling out, there is a serious concern no home game will be seen locally this season.
The Buccaneers have been offering free parking in select lots (a savings of $25), half-priced concessions (excluding alcohol) and a giveway to commemorate Ronde Barber’s 200th career start in order to fill Raymond James Stadium for the season opener September 9 when the Carolina Panthers and Cam Newton come to town.
Wednesday head coach Greg Schiano spoke about the need for fan support.
“This is the Bay Area’s team and we are going to do our part,” Schiano said. “We are going to do things the right way on and off the field. I think that’s what this area wants. That’s the kind of team they want. We are going to go play good football. We need your help. That can be and has been an awesome home field advantage - that stadium when it is packed. The heat, the elements, and the fans—that’s what makes for home field advantage. So we all want the same thing, right? At the end of the day we all want to win championships and we can all be part of it which is fun.”
In addition to the promotions, back in July Tampa Bay announced plans to take advantage of the National Football League's recently-passed measure reducing the percentage of general admission ticket sales needed to avoid local broadcast blackouts of home games. As a result, any 2012 Buccaneer home games that sell 85% of non-premium tickets would be televised locally, rather than the 100% previously required.
"We hope that this move, along with lower ticket prices, starting at $30 for adults and $15 for children, will lead to more televised Buccaneer home games this year," said Buccaneers Vice President of Business Administration Brian Ford on July 13.
13 of the last 15 home games at Raymond James Stadium have been blacked out.
Along with the lowered ticket prices and blackout threshold selected, the Buccaneers have offered 12-month interest free payment plans and recently even unveiled a half-season ticket package. Combined with the new coaching staff brought in, a highly-touted 2012 draft class and the millions ($140.5 million on Vincent Jackson, Carl Nicks and Eric Wright) spent in free agency, many felt at least opening day and the first game in the Schiano era would sell out.
Looking ahead at the schedule the only game many feel that will have a legitimate chance off selling out and being seen locally would be the December matchup with the Philadelphia Eagles. That game will feature the 10-year reunion of the Super Bowl team.
Other home opponents this season include the Redskins, Chiefs, Saints, Falcons, Chargers, and Rams.
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