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July 1, 2013 @ 4:24 pm
Current rating: 5.00 Stars/2 Votes

5 Reasons Why Bucs Fans Should Fill The Stadium In 2013

Written by Mark
Mark Cook


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The 2013 Buccaneers enter the upcoming year with a ton of potential. With an exciting offense, a revamped defense and the second year of the Greg Schiano project, Mark Cook offers up five reasons why Tampa Bay fans should return to Raymond James Stadium in droves.
When looking ahead to 2013 many inside the Buccaneers organization have high expectations placed on them for the upcoming season.

Quarterback Josh Freeman is obviously the player most under the gun, as the Bucs signal caller is in the final year of his contract. Will cornerback Darrelle Revis and his surgically-repaired knee make a difference in the Bucs porous secondary?

While maybe not on the hot seat, head coach Greg Schiano and his coaching staff will be expected to have their football team show improvement and at the very least, be in contention for the postseason. Even general manager Mark Dominik, while still with another year left on his deal, is feeling some heat as the Buccaneers are a 24-40 during his tenure as chief talent evaluator and acquirer.

While you can easily make a case for the above mention players and front office personnel being under scrutiny, another group is also under the gun to do its part – the Tampa Bay community.

Will residents show up in droves to fill the stadium and avoid another year of blackouts? Below are five reasons why the Buccaneers deserve to have Raymond James Stadium filled for, at the very least, the eight home regular season games.

1. Glazer Money Well Spent
Any insistence that the Glazer family is cheap or focused on Manchester United instead of the Buccaneers has been proven wrong for the second year in a row. After spending $55.5 million for wide receiver Vincent Jackson, $47.5 million for guard Carl Nicks and $37.5 million for cornerback Eric Wright in 2012, Tampa Bay went out and made Dashon Goldson the highest paid safety in the league with a five-year, $41.25 million dollar deal last March. Add in the trade-and-sign, nine-year, $96-million dollar Revis deal and that argument is beyond dead and buried.

The Glazers haven't stopped at just signing players, opting for the 85-percent capacity rule in hopes of generating more opportunities for getting games on television, while also reducing ticket prices throughout the stadium, including no-interest financing for those wanting to purchase season passes.

So not only have the Glazers spent money, they have also essentially taken revenue from their own pockets in hopes of making games more affordable. An argument could be made that they still came out smelling like roses with the stadium deal back in the 1990’s, but the fact is, they absolutely did not have to make any ticket price concessions. And while it isn’t football related, the Glazers also donate millions each year to the Tampa Bay community.

2. Starry Skies Over Tampa Bay
With the above-mentioned players added over the past two seasons, in addition to some homegrown talent, the Buccaneers have more star power and nationally recognized players on this roster than perhaps any time in franchise history. Jackson, Nicks, running back Doug Martin, left tackle Donald Penn and right guard Davin Joseph are all current or former Pro Bowlers, and wide receiver Mike Williams and Josh Freeman could be on the cusp. Defensively, defensive tackle Gerald McCoy took his first league-honored trip to Honolulu last February, a place both Revis and Goldson are familiar with. With linebacker Lavonte David already getting some comparisons to Bucs all-time great Derrick Brooks and young talented defensive ends in Adrian Clayborn and Da’Quan Bowers poised to explode on the national scene, this Buccaneers team is loaded with exciting – and extremely talented – football players.

3. Tampa Bay Area Economy Rebounds
There is no question that the Tampa Bay area was hit hard by the financial recession of 2008-2011 and most likely that, coupled with a stagnant and then disappointing football team, led to many giving up their season tickets. While the economy is still far from being at the early 2000’s level, there are encouraging signs. According to Robert Trigaux of the Tampa Bay Times, Tampa Bay's gross domestic product hit $112.4 billion in 2008, fell to $110.9 billion in 2009, then by 2010 clawed back to near '08 levels. But by 2011, the metro area GDP enjoyed a 3.3 percent bump, rising to $116.2 billion, says the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

More corporations means more jobs in the area, which means more disposable income and more fans that may be able to afford to come back to watch Buccaneers football on Sunday afternoons. While still in a bit of a slump, the Florida – and Tampa Bay area economy in particular – is rebounding ever so slightly, which is encouraging news for the Buccaneers organization.

4. Something To Believe In
NFL cities can cope with mediocre football teams – even poor teams at times – if there are players that the community can identify with. But for a number of years the Buccaneers just didn’t have many football players that parents wanted to see their kids representing in jerseys. Jeramy Stevens, Tanard Jackson, Aqib Talib, Kellen Winslow and others, all seemed to generate negative headlines, thus turning off a large segment of the population. Couple that with the squeaky clean image of players from the Tampa Bay Lightning and Tampa Bay Rays and it is easy to look back and see where some of the loyalty was lost.

But that appears to be changing since the arrival of Schiano. Gone are most of the so-called trouble makers, and in came much higher character football players like Jackson who has a foundation working with military families, Revis who sponsors a summer football camp in Pennsylvania, and several members of the Buccaneers who shaved their heads at One Buc showing solidarity in support of pediatric cancer that recently took place.

Is the Bucs roster filled with choir boys? It certainly has its share, and you can expect the police blotter to be much quieter with Schiano running the show, similar to when Tony Dungy was the sheriff in Tampa Bay.

5. Offensive Firepower
A number of cynical fans still give no credit to an offense that was statistically the best in franchise history last year. Were there flaws and periods of inconsistency? You bet. But regardless of who, where or why, the records are in the books. The team set a franchise record with 5,820 yards of total offense and 389 total points scored, Freeman set a franchise record with 4,065 passing yards and 27 TD passes. Martin set a rookie rushing mark with 1,454 yards behind a patchwork offensive line.

Regardless of the final score and record, this offense – and team in general – was the most exciting in franchise history. Anyone who left a Bucs game early was most likely kicking themselves listening to the final minutes on their car radio. Other than the Chiefs game and perhaps the late season loss to the Rams, every home game was decided in the final minutes, and not many people left Raymond James last year saying they didn’t get their money’s worth. With the return of Nicks and Joseph and the entire offense gearing up for their second year in Mike Sullivan’s complex offense, the best in most likely yet to come.

Most of the excuses have been put to rest as to why the Buccaneers can’t fill Raymond James Stadium. Certainly there are several thousands in the area who just can’t afford to attend a Bucs game, but with a population of 2.8 million residents in the immediate Tampa Bay area there isn’t a reason why 55,000 (85 percent of capacity) fans can't fill the seats and lift the blackout cloud that has been hovering over this franchise since 2010.

Last modified on Monday, 01 July 2013 19:17

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  • avatar

    I went to 1 game last year, the Philly game. I took my 79 year old mother and girlfriend. We wore our Lynch and Alstott jerseys and had a great time except for losing. We sat in the lower section, Bucs side at the 50 yard line. It cost me $700 just for the tickets. Will I do it again? Probably not because I over paid by $400 of the real value of the tickets. That was my choice so I'm not complaining, but I'm also probably not going back either just to enrich some season ticket holder. I don't want to sit in the endzone where you can't see half the game. I love the Bucs sat by my radio for 15 or so years during the Yucs, would rather do that during blackouts than spend that kind of money for 1 game again.
  • avatar

    I've been a pewter report member for six years now and maybe have commented twice in those years but feel compelled to comment now. I've been a buc fan since I can remember the first nfl games I've ever watched. You see, I'm from Saskatchewan , Canada and knew only the cfl until I actually started playing the game in high school and got turned to the way more thrilling and talented product down south. Regardless I conned my wife into a Tampa trip for my honeymoon with the ulterior motive if course to take in a game whilst there. An absolutely amazing time was had. Loved Clearwater and all the other fun a couple or family could have , truly jealous I don't live there. This fall I'm bringing the wife and three kids to the Philly game and Busch gardens and whatnot. The point I'm making is that even though I'm in a single income family that has to spend loads on airfare I WILL attend a game this year and years past. Hopefully annually. There is no excuse for local residents to not sellout these games. Blackouts should be unheard of. Especially with the onfield product now. As much as make I'd still endeavor to buy season tickets. Please people go to the game and support our team. Go Bucs!
  • avatar

    I spent big bucks to see the Bucs vs Giants wildcard playoff game in '07. Every time my group stood up to make some noise, especially when the Giants went for it on 4th down, the people behind us told us to sit down because they couldn't see. We weren't obnoxious or rude, just being a fan. That's the last Bucs game I went to.
  • avatar

    I've been a season ticket holder since 95'. This will be the first year I miss games as work has taken me away from the Bay area. My son now carries the Buccaneer torch for me in my absence. GO BUCS
  • avatar

    Recently spoke with fans from two big NFL teams - NYG and Chicago Bears - both conveyed that their teams have a great amount of corporate support from businesses that buy ticket to support the team. Tickets are given as perks to staff members or clients. Do the Bucs have this kind of support by the local corporations in the area?
  • avatar

    I have been a season ticket holder on and off, since the eighties, and have gone to games since the late 70's, and it never was because they were good or bad rather economics. The tickets are definitely fair priced, but sometimes life gets in the way as well as age. I support my bucs no matter what.
  • avatar

    I can't wait for this season to start. I am excited to be able to fly down from Maine to go to the home opener against the Saints, then fly back home and go watch them beat the Patriots in Foxboro. Go Bucs!!!
  • avatar

    I have no excuse as to why I did not renew my ticket except that it is just too hot for me to deal with the heat . It surely was not the price of the ticket as I was in the upper deck and had a great view of everything. I am still a Buc fan and will always be one. I might still buy a ticket or two once we get into late November.
  • avatar

    Now wait a minute. The Glaziers WERE cheap from about 2006-2011. Since then, my hat is off to them but let's not pretend they did not bring some of this on themselves by diverting money to Manu right after the financial crisis. That is simply a fact. That being said, they have brought me back fully and i intend on flying back from Los Angles for at least one game if not two. This should be a great year. But to put a fine point on it; it's really nice to not have that nagging feeling in the back of ones mind that your ownership is not fully invested. I'm so glad to agree that this is no longer the case. Go Bucs.
  • avatar

    Many of you hit on some of the key points. Here in Arizona, a Superbowl team at the same general time they opened a new stadium has allowed the Arizona Cardinals to sellout each year. The Cardinals certainly don't have the star-power that the Bucs have (outside of Fitz, name some). But, Cardinal games are still the place to go and be seen. Probably second to the Phoenix (Waste Management) Open for being seen. That being said, hoards of very attractive and die-hard fans head to the arena during Cardinal home games. It is an event that is attractive and still draws folks. I am hoping Tampa can get back to that. Make the games fun and party-like. Tampa/St. Pete is a city that lives free-spirited and I know they know how to throw a party. If I was there, I would definitely come out for every home game.
  • avatar

    Bring out the TARPS.
  • avatar

    I gave up on the rest of the Buc fanbase when all the talk started of the Glazers being cheap. I never bought into that and was surprised so many people couldn't see what they were trying to do. I don't give a rat's *censored* if me and my buddies are the only ones in the stadium. The players have had to learn that the only ones who are going to be there for them through thick and thin are the other players. Hopefully that's enough. The Bucs will be great, but if they ever suck again most of the fans will be gone again in no time. No one truly learned their lesson over the past few years.
  • avatar

    I hope the NFL can come up with a new policy for televising games. I consider myself a true BUCS fan. I would pay to watch every Home game and in that manner, support the team financially. However, I simply don't like going to the stadium and feel like I get more out of the game at home. Why can't the NFL do a pay-per-view/stadium attendance combo where the total needs to be some number ( say 75,000) before the game is NOT blacked. That attendance number should be based on a per capita basis so smaller market teams don't have to compete with cities like NY, LA, etc..
  • avatar

    I sat in the stadium with 35,000 die-hard fans in the 80's. It's a choice, you go or you don't go. I'm a Bucs Fan so I go, win or lose, always been that way. The Bucs don't owe me nothing, I've always had a great time and it's always been an enjoyment in my life, wouldn't have it any other way. Go Bucs!
  • avatar

    sure they owe you a competitive team - a roster with NFL-quality players and a competent coaching staff and front office
  • avatar

    The NFL didn't do us any favors with the schedule, a lot of the better games are on the road. I think it's important the Bucs get off to a fast start. If we can beat the Saints, and Pats, in weeks two, and three, two NFL power houses, we'll be on our way.
  • avatar

    ALL of the reasons are valid. I'm hoping Buccaneer fans show up big this season. The team deserves support and I'll continue to do just that. I maintain it's about the entertainment dollar. Choices. If you're a Buccaneers fan and live down here, it's an easy one IMO. The Buccaneers are doing their part. Hopefully the fans will too. Those that do are in for exciting times again. A great time to jump on or back on the wagon too!
  • avatar

    Thanks to PR for sharing that the Glazers are tenting part of the stadium to allow the games to be broadcast and not blacked out. I am happy with what the Glazers have been doing to improve the Bucs, and I am sure they know they will lose important fan base if they let the blackouts continue, no matter how good the team looks on the field. I believe this will be an up year for the Bucs as long as their RB does not get hurt. I trust that DOM and Schiano will watch the Preseason games and if a suitable backup is not on the present team, will then bring in a veteran backup as insurance. However, I think Smith is capable of being a great change of pace back, a good third down back, and a great special teamer. We need to keep Leonard to back up the FB, and get us valuable short yardage gains, especially with Freeman going so light that he will not be any good at QB sneaks.
  • avatar

    jongruden "I will never forget when I came back to Tampa for a Sunday Night game against the Seahawks to honor Mike Alstott and we were 5-2 at the time and we couldn't sell the game out, thats pathetic plain and simple." I will never forget this night either. The Rays were playing the Red Sox at the Trop in GAME 7 of the AL Championship Series. They trotted out a young kid named David Price who clinched the AL Pennant for the Rays that night and sent us to our very first World Series! As a life-long Bucs fan, I gave my tickets to some friends because I wanted to experience the Rays post-season magic in person. They went from having the worst record in baseball the year before to the world series, and many sports fans in Tampa were caught up in this magic. Fortunately they played the ending of the Rays game on the JumboTron at Raymond James so they fans there could share in the experience, too. October 19, 2008
  • avatar

    Tampajim- You are correct that the Rays were playing that night and I remember watching the game on the jumbo tron at Tampa Stadium also, but with a 5-2 record and honoring Alstott it would seem that with 2.8 million people in the area that we still could have sold out the game it was disappointing, not to mention everytime I go back for games I usually have to be surrounded by the opposing teams fans
  • avatar

    I think that people are going to be very surprised at the amount of "sell-outs" that we have this year. The Bucs have done something with their seating that I haven't seen PR, the local newspapers, or radio talk about. They are covering up several sections of seats with tarps like they do in Jacksonville and the upper deck at the Trop. I know this because I am a season ticket holder, and I have been since the original Tampa Stadium. The Bucs this year aren't just covering upper deck seats. They are covering some seats in the lower bowl also. When the new stadium was built, we were given some of these lower level seats since we were long time season ticket holders. Now we have been forced to move to other sections. I'm happy with my new seats, so that isn't the point of this post. The point is...when you combine the 85% rule with the "covered seats", and you subtract the Club Seats (because they don't count toward the sell out numbers) plus the lower ticket prices and the improved product on the field...there is a very good chance that EVERY GAME THIS YEAR WILL BE ON LOCAL TV. Go Bucs! See you guys at the game...
  • avatar

    I feel especially qualified to speak on this subject since I have never missed a home game in 36 years and have 8 season tickets. Jon Gruden and Kinderrt are both absolutely correct in their assessments. So many fans here are either from other places or their parents who brought them here are from other places and continue to maintain at least some allegiance to their former home team. They are not so much Bucs fans as they are fans of certain players like Alstott, Brooks, Barber, etc. As long as the local team is being talked about positively and going to the games is the "place to be and be seen" they show up. But at the first sign of unpopularity or discord, they revert back to their former team to distance themselves from the locals. These are the "fickle fans" JonnyG mentioned. Now go back 5 years when the downturn of season ticket holders began. Why? As Kindrerrt wisely pointed out, the original 10 year commitment expired. With the team being in a down year, droves of the original season ticket holders bailed and the people who were on the original waiting list weren't ready to pay out $. Thus the season ticket base that is critical to game day attendance nose dived. Couple that with the Rays and Lightning showing some success and suddenly the Buccaneers had competition for the sports dollar. Inexpensive HD TV's also came on the scene. To make matters even worse, the stars faded or left altogether. For whom would the fans cheer? "Who" being the operative word. The final dagger was the Glazers themselves. They are so private it came off to some as being aloof and uncaring about their American football team. Many believed statements being made by certain media types (J.P. Peterson) that the Glazers were broke, selling the Bucs and funneling money from the Buccaneers to pay the massive debt on their other "football" team. Of course that other team just happens to be the most valuable sports team in the world and certainly an asset and not a liability to the Glazer fortune. I do think fans realize the truth now. Fans now are sitting back in the "ready mode" just waiting to see what happens with a team that is showing signs of being on the rise. But no one nationally talks about them as anything more than a 6 to 7 win team. When discussing the Bucs it's "Ho followed by Hum" . In spite of all of the influx of talent the so-called "experts" aren't impressed enough to have the guts to predict anything other than status quo for the red and pewter. So the casual fans anticipate more of the same and as such are not yet willing to plunk down the cash to attend home games plus have to pay for pre-season games. This team reminds me of the 1997 version that surprised everyone. I expect the team to show early signs of being a contender that will get people's attention. It's tough to sell enough game day tickets for a sell-out but perhaps others will see what I see and buy season tickets now before their is a run on them in 2014.
  • avatar

    I have season tickets for 20+ years now and the only time the stadium was full is when everyone was under a 10 year contract. They will still struggle to get to 55,000 this year and future years unless they are on a Super Bowl run. Then everyone will get on the BANDWAGON and be a fan for a year.
  • avatar

    I lived in Bradenton, Fla nad my father and I had season tix from 85' to 93', I had since moved out of state but always came back for Bucs Games every few yrs so I feel qualified to share my opinion about the fan base. Tampa is the most fickle football fan base I have ever seen in my life, if we have a super bowl caliber team or we come out with new and exciting uni's then it creates buzz but other than that bleh!!! I will never forget when I came back to Tampa for a Sunday Night game against the Seahawks to honor Mike Alstott and we were 5-2 at the time and we couldn't sell the game out, thats pathetic plain and simple. The only time really sell out games is when the visiting team has a huge fan base like GB, Philly, Chicago, Dallas etc. I will always stay loyal like my fellow posters on this site but we are few while other organizations are many.
  • avatar

    I just don't see the stadium being sold out for every game all the sudden. Realistically, there will probably be 2 or 3 home games out of the 8 not blacked out not including the 2 primetimes. I just don't see it.
  • avatar

    There is absolutely no excuse for us to fill this stadium this season. I have never been more excited as a fan as I am right now. This organization has done nothing but show us that it is willing to do whatever it takes to win. If we can't see it now then we never will. The amount of talent and promising potential that fills our roster is unmatched from any time within the past ten years. The family mentality and cohesiveness that is roaming at one buc place should keep even the most casual of fan chomping at the bit to see this team in action. I understand that some people are financially struggling but to say that you can't afford to go to RJS at least a few times this year is straight up BS. As a recent college grad I will be using what little money I have to make a trip down from the northeast at least once this season. Having games blacked out locally is flat out embarrassing and if we want to be taken seriously around the league we need to show our support. The management has done their part and I question any fans character that says otherwise. If you aren't jittery with excitement for this team then do us all a favor and get the hell out of here. I don't mean to sound belittling but let's go buc nation, let's bring back the fire to the pirate ship, this is our year. Get pumped. LETS GO BUCS!!
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