If you live in Tampa and you want to see the Bucs take on the Steelers this Sunday you have two choices, either go to a sports bar (preferably one with an off-air satellite or one located 75 miles away from Raymond James) or you could buy one of the thousands of remaining tickets and actually attend the game yourself. Regardless, the window for selling out Sunday afternoon’s Buccaneers-Steelers affair has come and gone and once again the Buccaneers have failed to avoid a black out.
Two weeks ago the Bucs failed to sell out their season opener against the Browns and the fellas over at JoeBucsFan.com arranged for a charter bus to head down the Lee Roy Selmon’s restaurant all the way in Fort Myers. The cost of a ticket on the bus was 24.95, or roughly five cents less than it costs just to park at Raymond James. If you were wondering the bus sold out.
Growing up in Tampa I can tell you that it makes me more than a little sad that at one point there was a list nearly 8,000 strong just waiting to get season tickets. Now the Buccaneers have fallen to the level of the Jaguars and can’t fill up their own stadium. Frankly, the nation’s opinion of Tampa as a sports town is pretty abysmal. Long gone are the day of sold-out Buccaneers Sundays and the Lightning briefly leading the NHL in attendance. Now people tune in around the nation and see 7,000 people in attendance to watch one of the top teams in all of baseball or they see Raymond James Stadium with a major portion of its upper level vacant.
This week the surprisingly 2-0 Tampa Bay Buccaneers take on a team which historically has given Tampa some great battles in the 2-0 Pittsburgh Steelers. A battle of unbeatens. Potentially the most nationally relevant game the Bucs could play all year. Not to pick on the fan-base, but Steelers fans typically travel as well as any fan-base in the NFL, possibly in American sports. And this one still didn’t sell out. The economy is rough, the Tampa Bay area is geographically very spread out with a plethora of other things to do. But I also know that the sports fans in the Tampa Bay area are some of the most knowledgeable and passionate in the whole country. It’s just a shame no one else across the country does.