If you're a fan of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, you already know the sad connotations of the word "blackout." Since the Bucs didn't sell out tickets to tonight's game between the Buccaneers and Patriots, the game will be unavailable on local TV, making this at least the 10th consecutive Bucs home game that has been blacked out. There's no end to the blackouts in sight, so I'm sure the same question is on the mind of many hardcore Bucs fans: is there a way around the blackout?
The short answer is, no. At least, there are no legal ways around the blackout. If you want to remain on the right side of the law -- and keep your computer virus-free -- your best bet is to wait and watch the game when it airs on Channel 10 at 11:30pm or to use NFL Preseason Live to watch the game late at night.
Neither option allow you to watch the game live, though; the only way to do that would be to buy tickets to the game, but who wants to validate the NFL's blackout policy? If I lived in the area, I'd refuse on principle to buy tickets after a blackout has been put in place. To do so just encourages the NFL to continue with their blackout policy, which is a direct ploy to bring in more money. Your tickets are expensive enough, NFL -- stop blackmailing your fans.
So if you're a frustrated, pocket-pinched fan ready to do just about anything to watch your Tampa Bay Bucs live, what do you do?
Well, there is an illegal way of watching the Bucs live. One local Tampa pub circumvented the blackout last year by finding a sketchy online site that was streaming the game live, so it's theoretically possible to find streams of the game.
The only trick is...yeah, these sites are illegal. And the streams are likely very poor quality. And the sites may or may not give you a virus. I wouldn't recommend this strategy to anyone out there....but as that one bar showed, it can be done. You just have to be desperate enough to try it.
Unless something dramatically changes in regards to ticket sales, this could be the second season in a row where the Bucs have all their home games blacked out locally. Is this the way to encourage a fanbase? To excite fans about their team? I don't think so. It just makes them more and more desperate to find a loophole.