There was a lot of news made the other week when it was announced that the NFL had lifted it’s harsh blackout restrictions and lessened the percentage of attendance to just 85 percent.
But as those who have resaerched the numbers — such as myself and Matt Cook from The Pewter Report have– you’ll find that just because it appears the Buccaneers won’t have any blackouts in 2012, it’s not a certainty.
Last year the attendance mark was greatly inflated. I say this because only two game actually sold out last year and those were the two nationally televised games against the Colts and the Cowboys (and the Cowboys game wasn’t technically a national game since only half the country has NFL Network).
with the notable exceptions of those two games, the Buccaneers badly limped through the season attendance-wise. The season opener against the Lions was the NFL’s worst opener of the season as the Bucs only filled 47,633 of the 65,890 available at Raymond James Stadium.
That’s a 72 percent attendance figure — for the home opener.
Of the other games, the Buccaneers failed to meet the blackout restrictions. Even under the new blackout rules the Buccaneers would have failed to meet the 72 hour deadline and the games would have still be blacked out.
But there is hope that the Buccaneers can improve attendance.
The team improved ten-fold in the offseason adding a Pro Bowl offensive lineman in Carl Nicks and a Pro Bowl receiver in Vincent Jackson. Both of these additions should jump start a stagnant and confusing offense from 2011. That coupled with the rise of Josh Freeman and the pre-established favorites like Mike Williams and LeGarrette Blount still going hard, there should be more fire power next season.
And if there’s something that fills the seats as well as wins do, it’s wins that are glitzy and flashy.
But what might be the push over the edge is the fact that the Buccaneers lowered ticket prices to an insanely low level. Brian Ford, Vice President of Business Administration said that the Bucs are starting ticket prices at $30 for adults and just $15 for children.
There is a lot of excitement moving forward about Buccaneers football. But the question is will anybody actually be watching. Bucs fans are loyal, I know this for a fact. They’re a fan base that gets flak for any particularly good reason. But what has been stunting the growth of this newest era in Buccaneers football is the lack of viewership and hopefully that is about to change.
Attendance, like the growth of the product on the field, is a tedious process.