Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans within 75 miles of Raymond James Stadium could not watch the team's opening week win over the Carolina Panthers. It was the third straight season that the home opener was blacked out. It effected more than just fans watching at home, at the Champps Americana sports bar in Tampa, none of the facility's 22 televisions could carry the Bucs game.
Only two Bucs games were broadcast on television around the Tampa Bay area last season and none were shown two seasons ago. The Bucs were unable to get the blackout lifted despite making a lot of price cuts entering the season. Things that were available were free parking, half-priced concessions (excluding alcohol) and even tickets discounted to as low as $30.
Some Bucs fans wonder if these blackouts could cause the interest in the team to fade. The owner of Ferg's Sports Bar & Grill in St. Petersberg may have said it best:
"Out of sight and out of mind. I couldn't even tell you five players, because they're not on TV," Ferg's owner Mark Ferguson said. "When they're not on TV, they're weakening their brand. It's not their fault. It's the NFL rules."
Tampa Bay's next home game is on Sept. 30 against the Washington Redskins.