The Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Wild Card playoff game vs. the New York Giants is just three days away from kickoff, yet Raymond James Stadium is not yet sold out.
According to the Buccaneers, less than 500 tickets remain for Tampa Bay's home playoff game vs. the Giants. Although it is not sold out yet, the Bucs-Giants playoff contest is not in danger of being blacked out locally.
Sunday's playoff game at Raymond James Stadium is expected to sell out, especially since Ticketmaster and the Buccaneers agreed Thursday to open ticket sales to residents outside of the state of Florida.
Up until Thursday's development, ticket sales for Tampa Bay's home playoff game were restricted to Florida residents in an effort to keep New York fans and residents from buying unsold playoff tickets.
But according to the Associated Press, New York attorney general Andrew Cuomo contacted Ticketmaster on Thursday regarding some potential legal issues with Ticketmaster's policy.
"It raises issues, interstate commerce issues," Cuomo told the Associated Press. "There are constitutional prohibitions against states discriminating against other states' residents or impeding business by other states. There are possible discrimination issues."
Ticketmaster and the Buccaneers have made a joint decision to make tickets available to residents outside of the state of Florida.
"We see no legal issue with a team or venue choosing to make certain tickets available only to local residents for a particular event; however, with our client the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' permission, and as a goodwill effort, we lifted the restrictions earlier today," Ticketmaster spokesman Joseph Freeman said in the statement published by the Associated Press.
Bucs fans attending the Wild Card playoff game at Raymond James Stadium on Sunday should be in for a competitive game and special treat.
The Buccaneers announced on their team website that fans attending Sunday's game will have red and white Battle Flags waiting for them at their seats.
The Battle Flags made their debut in 2002 at Tampa Bay's home playoff game vs. San Francisco and were distributed again for the Bucs' home post-season contest vs. the Redskins in 2005.
Tampa Bay is 6-8 all-time in the playoffs. It owns a 4-2 playoff record at home.
The Bucs remember how intense and loud the atmosphere was for their last home playoff game, which came on Jan. 7, 2006 vs. the Washington Redskins.
"It was electric," said Bucs defensive tackle Chris Hovan. "I can't wait. It's an atmosphere you can't describe at Ray-Jay, especially in the playoffs. Goosebumps is pretty much the first adjective that comes to mind."
Tampa Bay lost its last home playoff game to Washington, 17-10. The Bucs are anxious to relive the experience of a home playoff game, but want to produce a much different result.
"The atmosphere was just ridiculous," Bucs running back Earnest Graham said. "We would have liked to have won that game, but we didn't. Now we have another shot. The atmosphere will be incredible."
The Bucs are confident the fans at Ray-Jay will make a lot of crowd noise on Sunday, evidenced by the fact that the team was using speakers to simulate crowd noise during Thursday's practice.
The Giants have produced an impressive 7-1 road record this season. Tampa Bay fans, armed with Battle Flags, will have the opportunity to help the Bucs defend their home turf on Sunday.
"When it's playoff time, it's just a little bit different intensity," said Bucs center John Wade. "You just have to go out there and feel. I don't know if words can express what it's like. It's the same way at the stadium. I got to experience that once here two years ago. The fans were unbelievable with all of the flags waving. They stepped their game up at playoff time as well. It's going to be exciting all the way around for everybody. In 2005, the place was unbelievable. It was rocking and unfortunately we didn't perform the way we wanted to. But the last two weeks, especially, our fans have been great. I'm not worried about our fans. I know they are going to show up and have a great time. I'm just worried about putting on a good show for them and getting a win."
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