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September 6, 2012 @ 3:06 pm
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Bucs-Panthers Won't Be Seen Locally, Game Fails To Sellout

Written by Mark
Mark Cook


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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.

Last modified on Thursday, 06 September 2012 15:27

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  • avatar

    First, we have a fan base all too eager to revert back to their former loyalties at the first sign of decline. Second; Many of the season ticket holders are businesses who give them away for marketing and sometimes as a reward for their own employees. But as the team declined and the business climate worsened or became an uncertainty, those businesses couldn't afford to let unused tickets sit in the bosses drawer because no one wanted to go to the game to see them lose. Third: The 10 year commitment ended and vast numbers of the original season ticket holders abandoned ship, the team fell into steep decline and the fan favorites aged into retirement. No one had confidence in the new faces so they took on a wait and see approach. The 3-13 season provided little hope. The 10-6 season was nice but many thought it was luck as the media constantly pointed out "they hadn't won against a team with a winning record." Then, just as fans had started to take notice at 4-2, the bottom fell out and the result was the worst team in Bucs history. Fourth: When the Glazers bought Manchester United many saw that as a husband who found a new lover. Of course, we also have many who think the wealthy are to be hated for their success. Ok, so what has to happen? The Glazers have spent money and done at least a few things to endear themselves to the fans. I still think they should be more accessible. The rest can only be fixed on the field. Win and the snobbery fans will again see RJS as the place to be seen. Win and clients will be clamoring for business associates to offer tickets. Hope that Freeman, McCoy, Martin and others take the place of Brooks, Sapp, Alstott and others who fans want to come and see. Do that and the apathy that is so prevalent now will turn to excitement. By the way, I have 8 season tickets.
  • avatar

    I think maybe if some of us that are big fans but are not buying tickets explain why we are not buying tickets, then maybe the Glazers can do something about it. Any business that is having trouble selling a product and then blames the customer base does not understand marketing. It is never the customers fault. I had season tickets for 10 years starting when RJS opened and then cancelled my tickets. 1. The Bucs have the 19th most expensive ticket prices out of 32 teams. Our economy is probably the worst of any NFL city. The Browns tickets are on average $15 less per ticket. You should not be charging like our team is a Superbowl contender like it once was. You need to drastically cut prices. 2. When The new stadium was first announced I was so happy because I thought the Glazers would build a comfortable stadium and learn from the uncomfortable Sombrero. At least they didn't put metal benches in RJS. I was shocked that they built a stadium that did not supply any shade for any fans except some of the seats for the really rich people. Tampa is way to hot to be sitting in the direct sun for over 3 hours. That was a huge mistake and I hope the rumors that no shade was supplied on purpose to increase drink sales is not true. The stadium is designed to completely separate the the club seats and boxes from the rest of the fans. When leaving the games the locked doors to the RICH PEOPLE AREA would open and the cold air conditioning would pour out and it would feel so good and the rich people would come out and they look cool and fresh and the rest of us are dripping with sweat. I really felt like a steerage passenger on the Titanic. I never felt welcome in that stadium. I always felt mad that the Glazers would charge $4.25 for a bottle of water that they get for less than 20 cents. I always felt like even though I paid over $130 for 2 tickets and to park and I had to sit in the blistering hot sun for over 3 hours and I need some water to prevent myself from passing out, maybe the Glazers could thank me for coming and sell the water for $1.25. You would still make over a dollar per bottle, don't be so greedy. Those are my main complaints. If everyone honestly tells why they are not buying tickets maybe they will make some changes. And to the Glazers, if you have a marketing company fire them and get someone good. And remember, it's never the customers fault!
  • avatar

    We also have a much smaller market of Buc Fans compared to other NFL cities.I would say 70% of all NFL Fans I know or talk to are from another state and are loyal to there hometown team.Even if they have lived in Florida for 20 years there still a Packers Fan or Giants Fan or Cowboy Fan or whatever team.That leaves a smaller pool of Fans to fill the stadium.Add in the economy and a bad Bucs team (and the Glazers not spending much on the Bucs team for years) for years.Its gonna take wins to fill the stadium.Hopefully the wins start this Sunday. GO BUCS!!!
  • avatar

    @Cash80 - What you don't understand is bad in Tampa vs. bad other places isn't the same. I live in Boston but own property in Pinellas County. I lived there for almost 30 years. My property there lost about 50% of its' value while the property in the Boston area went down 9%. It's now recovered all 9% it lost and gained 6% on top of that while the Florida property is still down 50%. Also salaries are a lot higher here in the Boston area so 1% here is less of an issue then 1% in Florida. The Florida economy was the second worst hit in the nation only Nevada is in worse shape. Every time I visit family in Florida I hit a Buc's game if one's available. That said the Buc's have always been a heavy bandwagon team. When they start winning people will start opening their wallets even if they don't have it they will make it happen.
  • avatar

    Some of us simply cannot afford it any longer. Even with reduced prices, this economy locally is in the pooper. And trying to put aside funds for two to four seats is now a struggle. My guess as the Tampa area and outside communities improve the black out situation will change and of course if the team turns into a winner that will help a great deal.
  • avatar

    Enough with all the excuses. Economy is bad everywhere, but that doesn't stop cities like Cleveland to sellout their games every year. Win, lose or draw the Browns fans show up in full force. You can't say that with the Bucs fan base. In a way, I hope the Bucs do move to another city. It's a lot of towns that would love to get a NFL franchise.
  • avatar

    Waiting for a winner? Look at the Rays. Regular contenders but still can't get more than half a crowd at the Trop. Even when they had great hitting but pitching was terrible people still didn't go. People still make the same excuse even though the Glazers spent boo coo bucks on premium players and cut prices across the board. Guarantee so called fans have plenty of money to buy those cartons of cigarettes, cases of beer and other wasteful things. They talked about why put money in the pockets of billionaires like the Glazers. What about the tobacco industry and beer companies??? If I lived in Tampa I could scrap up enough money to go to at least two games maybe three. Seattle sold out their games and won only a few more games than us. Sad state of affairs
  • avatar

    Out of sight, out of mind. The NFL black out rule doesn't work. would you buy something you've never seen? The best way to sell a product is to show it to as many people as possible. It's not like they need these gate receipts to make a profit, that's just gravy, the meat, and potatoes is the T.V. contract. The residents of Tampa have spoken, they have no interest because it's not on T.V., and they can sit home and still watch a better game this week end like the 49ers, Packers. We are real fans on this web site, we're the ones being hurt, there's not enough of us to fill the stadium. By the way I live on the east coast, if I lived in Tampa I'd have season ticks. The less the Bucs are on T.V., the less the casual fan will become interested.
  • avatar

    It is pitiful. I remember finally being in a financial position in my life to afford season tickets and being faced with a 50k waiting list... The economy is part of it but I think there are flocks of fans just hoping for a contender. Many (including myself) were put off with the abrupt dismisal of the faces of the franchise a few years back but we have reloaded and are ready to make some new kids, household names. Fans will come back with proof of success and stability.
  • avatar

    It is a sad day, hopefully after this season people will come back. All of the transplants don't help for sure. GO BUCS!!!
  • avatar

    Some day in the near future the residents of Tampa will recall the days when when we had a professional sports franchise called The Buccaneers. The problem is not the economy, not the lack of effort on the part management and ownership, and not our win loss record. Quite simply the majority of people in Tampa are from somewhere else. They are still fans of other franchises all around the country. They won't sit in the heat and watch a team they did not growup with. While we had our heyday during Super Bowl 37, other cities won't wait to fulfill the demands of cohesive, dedicated fans looking for a team they can call their own.
  • avatar

    you have to put a winner on the field. thru a combination of underspending and poor personnel decisions, both for many yrs, the talent core has decayed. it took us 3 yrs to determine what everyone knew from the start, raheem was not qualified to be a head coach. it is taking us yet another season to realize dom is likely not qualified to be a gm. this is not going to be an immediate turnaround. hopefully we go 7-9 this yr, with a couple game streak in the 2nd half of the season after what could easily be an ugly 1-3 type start, and then can have a winning season in '14. for now we have to suffer with fan indifference, but the glazers got that the old fashioned way - "they earned it". with a couple of yrs of investing in the team and avoiding foolish personnel decisions, that is correctible. problem is, in the nfl the clock is always ticking, on players' careers, on advances by competitors, etc so these wasted yrs are never coming back. glazers need to move with a sense of urgency to regain mo' behind this franchise.
  • avatar

    Recently i have gone from casual buc fan to die hard fan( yes i did purchase tickets) and i gotta tell you, its a real shame to see all those empty seats in a a league where some teams have people on the waiting list for years. I just hope that coach Schiano and this new team win enough games to win the hearts and minds of the people in Tampa Bay. I sucks to have such a great team with great traditions but such horrible, horrible fans who dont care enough to go to ONE game.
  • avatar

    I figured all that talk from a lot of fans that the reason they weren't coming to games is the owners weren't spending enough money on this team was complete bunk. Those fans had too much pride to admit the real reason they weren't coming to the games. They were only casual fans of the Bucs in the first place and when the economy went south that was all it took to tip the scales the other way and prevent them from coming out. My problem is that most of those fans have money to go to at least one game a year but choose to spend the money on other things they don't need and still call themselves fans. It's a fact that any sports team perform better when they have a huge crowd cheering for them. Yes, you can watch the game at home or on an Internet stream site, but the players can't hear you there and don't perform as well as they could. Fans watching the games at home when there are seats available will lead to an annually mediocre team no matter what the coaches do.
  • avatar

    Pinkstop; well said.
  • avatar

    This is a sad,sad situation. To echo JDouble.....PITIFUL The Tampa Bay area is going to fool around and loose this franchise
  • avatar

    The Glazers have done their part and the season ticket base (about 35,000 to 40,000) always does their part. The remaining fans choose other ways to spend their entertainment dollars and should (but certainly WILL) complain about blackouts. It is they themselves who are causing them by making other choices. We all know there are many who simply cannot afford to go but enough can that have made their choice. I'm done even hearing about it because it really IS pitiful.
  • avatar

    Truly shocked that we couldn't hit the lower 85% threshold to get the home opener on TV. Tired of all the excuses quite frankly. You can complain about the team, the lack of star power, etc all you want. The game is more affordable than it ever has been and we have something new and hopefully better product on the field to watch. At least give the boys one game before writing them off. I renewed my tickets and will be there in red and pewter, eager to see the new and improved Bucs team. I just hope the Bay Area steps up by Week 4 when the Skins come to town....
  • avatar

    Wow? I wish I lived in Tampa still. I would be there.
  • avatar

    I had cancelled my season tickets (I'd had them two seasons), but just re-purchased (different, slightly cheaper seats). Hopefully there are enough casual fans out there will enough money to buy in when they really realize how improved (crossing fingers) this team is/should be. I really hope that this doesn't become an "out of sight, out of mind" thing either (that would be a real shame). In all honesty, I really don't completely understand: All the money comes from the TV contracts, so blackouts just hurt marketing (more so, I think, than they encourage ticket sales) of the team.
  • avatar

    Just pitiful.
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