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July 16, 2013 @ 10:54 am
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Schiano, New Players and New Culture; Bringing Bucs Fans Back

Written by Mark
Mark Cook


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Will the Buccaneers avoid the blackout blues this fall? Things are looking up according to Bucs Chief Operating Officer Brian Ford who spoke to the Tampa Tribune on Monday. With the arrival of high profile players like Darrelle Revis, along with a culture change from head coach Greg Schiano, it appears the Bucs are turning the attendance corner.
It is no secret the Buccaneers have struggled to fill Raymond James Stadium the last few season. People point to the economy, the stretching of their sports dollar and the area’s other attractions as reasons why they choose not to attend football games. And while these are all valid reasons, for the most part the excitability factor just hasn’t been there for the average Bay area resident.

That appears that is changing. At least if you believe Bucs chief operating officer Brian Ford.

"Our (season ticket) renewal rate is equal to the glory years, back in the day, so it's not like we're digging out of a hole," Ford told Ira Kaufman of the Tampa Tribune on Monday. "It helps we've got the best home schedule. Two prime-time games, one on a Monday night against Miami when Warren Sapp goes into our Ring of Honor, and a Thursday night game against a division rival (Carolina)."

Ford told Kaufman overall ticket sales have increased by more than 60 percent from this point in 2012.

Over the last two seasons the Buccaneers have attempted to reconnect with their fans. The hiring of head coach Greg Schiano was the first step in an image makeover – intentional or not. While not the type of personality to want to be seen in the spotlight rubbing elbows with the big wigs in the area, Schiano’s blue collar, no-nonsense approach is slowly winning over marginal fans, and those who may have given up on the franchise after the disappointing end to the Jon Gruden and Raheem Morris eras.

Add in the fact the Buccaneers have rid themselves of negative headline players, and brought in big-named talent like Darelle Revis, Carl Nicks and Vincent Jackson, and the Buccaneers seem to be creating genuine excitement across the area, something that hasn’t been felt by many in a number of years.

Once again the Buccaneers will opt for the 85-percent capacity rule, allowing the blackouts for home games to be lifted if the team manages to reach that threshold in general admission ticket sales. The Buccaneers have seen 19 home games blacked out of the last three seasons.

"We're one of the few teams that took full advantage of the league's lower manifest last year and we're doing it again," Ford told Kaufman in the Tribune report. "That shows our commitment to the community that we will do everything we can within our power."

While no specific ticket sales numbers were given, the Buccaneers marketing department isn’t looking too far past September 15.

"Our No. 1 goal is tied to selling out that New Orleans game because that's where it starts," Ford said. "That's why we put it on sale early. We know we're in the entertainment business. People have a choice. It's not a necessity. So we want to make our game-day experience compelling."

Last modified on Tuesday, 16 July 2013 11:13

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  • avatar

    Excellent. Not surprised to see the market is responding to the team's renewed commitment to excellence. Great schedule too. 1pm games in September are BRUTAL and I'm on the west side in the shade. Can't imagine cooking up in the 300 level east side on those days.
  • avatar

    I agree HoustonBucsFan. I hate that the northern teams have the home field weather advantage right when we're trying to make a playoff push in December. I like being able to take advantage of as many 1:00p September and October games as possible. It also allows me to get back home to south Florida at a decent hour. As a florida resident I love hot weather and it can't get hot enough in my book, so long as I'm dressed for that type of weather and well hydrated.
  • avatar

    Sure has been nice NOT to see the Buc's in the papers in a negative way. All we have to due is win and the fickle fan will return. Received my season tickets today and was glad to see that they are still doing the discount cards on food and drink. The Buc's are doing their part to try and get the fan back in the seats to make a home game feel like it is a home game.
  • avatar

    Horse you made a great point! The times are changing and for the NFL to sell tickets its going to have to put out some attractive offers! The team may be trying to change the culture but they also need to realize that the culture is changing for its fan base! I think the Bucs are trying to reach out and do this but it will take other teams to change for others to follow.
  • avatar

    Thats great the sales have increased but the only way to keep these fans is to win and win big thats just the nature of our fickle fans in Tampa they will jump ship in a minute if things go south
  • avatar

    The noon games give us more of a home field advantage for the first few home games....
  • avatar

    Damn good point horse
  • avatar

    Having games at 4 PM would add a few thousand more to the stadium in October. I agree that the cultural change is definitely for the good. It's still about the money though. Why not make all kids under 13 years of age half price? Now a days kids don't get much of a chance to see any professional sport because parents have to pay so much for any ticket; thus we have wiped out 1-2 generations that are not interested in leaving their couches.
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