Earlier this week, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers essentially conceded that they were not going to be able to sell the remaining 10,000+ tickets for Sunday's home opener with the Detroit Lions. Despite the teams efforts in form of releasing more lower priced, $35, tickets, the game is almost certain to be blacked out on local television in the Tampa Bay markets.
Now, according to a report on NBC's ProFootballTalk, it looks as if the Bucs may be the only blackout in the league for opening week.
This comes as somewhat of a surprise, considering that Jacksonville, who just cut franchise quarterback David Garrard just five days before the start of the season, was reportedly 7,000 tickets shy of a sell out. Apparently the Jags will be getting some outside help, as PFT's Michael David Smith explains.
Vito Stellino of the Florida Times-Union reports that the Jaguars plan to lift the blackout for the opener, presumably meaning they’ll take advantage of the NFL rule that allows the team to buy each unsold ticket at 34 percent of face value. So even though the Jaguars will be playing in front of thousands of empty seats, they’ll also be playing in front of local fans watching from home.
I honestly can't read that statement without getting angry at the Buccaneers front office. Tampa Bay is a passionate football town with an economic disaster on its hands, and expecting struggling families to shell out hundreds of dollars for a football game in sweltering heat is just madness when many are unemployed and countless more are underemployed. If the Glazers want to build momentum around this team, blacking out the game is the absolutely wrong way to go about it. I've never met anyone who heard the game was blacked out and was suddenly more compelled to buy a ticket. In fact, the majority I've spoken with are turned off by the rule and feel that they are being alienated by ownership.
Smith estimated that if the Bucs wanted to pick up the tab on the remaining 10,000 tickets it would cost the Glazers around $300,000, or a fraction of their multi-million dollar net worth. Surely the goodwill displayed towards the economically struggling fans would be worth money.