The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are second in the NFC South and just came off an impressive four-game winning streak. So where are all the fans?
Tom Jones of The Tampa Bay Times is wondering just that. Even with nice conditions for last Sunday's game (good weather, playing a good team and the winning streak), the Bucs couldn't fill the stadium:
The game was blacked out locally, meaning 85 percent of the nonpremium seats (or about 44,000 of those tickets) were not sold 72 hours before the game. It was the 19th blackout in the past 22 home games.
Considering the win streak, the opponent and the weather, you can't help but wonder: If fans in Tampa Bay aren't going to go to that game, which games will they go to?
Jones wrote that the problem might not be able to be solved, despite the the team's success this season. The economy could be the prime reason, or even people wanting to stay home and watch on TV, Jones wrote.
One of the main reasons, according to Jones? "This is not a good sports market. Not at the moment, anyway."
SB Nation's Bucs Nation also had thoughts on the matter, citing ownership as a key concern:
For fans (like myself) who have weathered the storm and stuck with the team, blackouts have never been an issue. I've seen every Bucs game since 1998 (my first year buying in to season tickets). But even I considered dropping my tickets for 2012 after last season's debacle. I wasn't going to allow the Glazers to take advantage of me any more.
The Bucs have two home games left this regular season. On Dec. 9 they'll play the lowly Philadelphia Eagles. Tampa Bay will play its final home game against the St. Louis Rams on Dec. 23.
The Bucs are back in action Sunday at the Denver Broncos. Tampa Bay is 6-5 while the Broncos enter the game with an 8-3 record.