If you live in Tampa and want to catch a glimpse of the Bucs as they take on the New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins the next two weekends you’re not going to be able to watch it on TV. The Buccaneers announced earlier today that the home games against the Patriots will be blacked out in the Tampa market. The Bucs failed to sell the necessary number of tickets by the 72 hour deadline before the game, thus leaving Bucs fans without football.
Also, team officials believe the current pace of ticket sales for next week’s preseason contest against the Dolphins and the majority of home games during the regular season will also fall short of sellouts. The club is optimistic about the chances for sellouts for the team’s two prime-time games.
This really doesn’t boggle my mind because it’s the preseason (and I agree paying regular season prices for an exhibition where most of the starters won’t play is tough). But if this goes on into the regular season, it does begin to confirm some of the gripes the mainstream media has with Tampa as a sports market. I understood the lack of attendance last year following the 3-13 debacle of 2009, but the Bucs are one of the most promising young teams in football. They are team coming off a 10-6 season. I guess my point is this, hopefully it gets better in the regular season. But the odds aren’t good. There’s a high likelihood the Bucs will not sell out their own stadium this season.
And if the fans don’t come and the Bucs are blacked out seven more times this year (remember they have to play a “home game” in London) the people in Tampa should thank their lucky stars the Bucs lease is so binding, or I promise you’d see the Glazers start sniffing around about a move to LA. It might still happen.