TAMPA — If you want to see the Buccaneers Week 1 against the Lions, you better wither have Sunday NFL Ticket, or have an actual physical ticket itself.
The Buccaneers home and season opener against the Detroit Lions is in danger and it’s “nearly impossible” for the Bucs to sell the 15,000 tickets left to qualify for a sell out.
This comes as no surprise as it has been long reported and speculated that Bucs games would be blacked out this season, but like it felt after the Lockout eventually happened, it sucks to hear. According to Bucs’ officials, none of their 2011 home games have been deemed a ‘sellout’ and the likely hood (however sad and depressing it is) that the entire Bucs home schedule will be blacked out is a real possibility now.
The Bucs must sell 15,000 tickets by Thursday (by the start of the Packers-Saints game) or fans in the greater Tampa Bay area will get another game, which I suppose is all well and good if you’re a fan of another team. However Bucs fans are going to have a tough go at seeing their favorite 11 hit the field at the Ray-J.
There is one game that could reach a capacity crowd, and the unfortunate fact that it will be bandwagoners and opposing fans is a real chance. That game is the Monday Night Football game against the Indianapolis Colts. Peyton will be in the house, ESPN and friends will be in the house and so will (most likely) a sell out.
The fact the game is on national television doesn’t hurt the blackout scenario, but it would be a sellout for Raymond James Stadium and a Bucs game.
The only game that Bucs fans will see no matter what is the London game against the Chicago Bears. Seeing as there may not be any other Bucs home games on in Tampa, that’s not a bad one to be forced to watch.
The Bucs lowered ticket prices this year in a desperate effort to bring in fans, as well as discounting food at games to drive up sales which have been very low since the end of the Jon Gruden era. Buying tickets to avoid blackouts means fans must purchase them from the Buccaneers, not second-hand sites like StubHub. As brilliant as StubHub is, these are tickets already purchased that fans are reselling. So although they may come at cheaper than face value, they won’t help avoid blackouts.
Bucs fans need not panic about missing ALL of the Bucs games, per NFL rules all road games are locally televised even if that team’s local market is blacked out.