A Season Of Blackouts Makes No SenseMay 16th, 2010
Joe can’t stop wondering whether or not Team Glazer will prevent television blackouts again in 2010, like they graciously did in 2009.
Joe is fascinated by the revelation that Team Glazer seemingly avoided blackouts last year by cutting checks to the league for 34 percent of the face value of a game’s unsold tickets. Neil Best, of Newsday, wrote about the blackout buyout subject last week and he gave Joe an exclusive interview about it, which then sent the story national.
So what’s the next move for Team Glazer? And why, if Team Glazer prevented blackouts last year, wouldn’t they do it again?
Joe has to think that the Bucs-Patriots “home game” in England was a factor last year. That game had to be a huge cash windfall for the Bucs, with 84,000+ in attendance paying top dollar at Wembley Stadium and the Bucs as the home team, which gets the largest share of gate revenue.
That Euro cash won’t be flowing this year, so maybe Team Glazer won’t be willing to invest in televised home games.
Joe also has to wonder whether in-stadium signage deals in Tampa have a television component in their contracts. At the very least, it would be difficult for Team Glazer to renew stadium sponsorship deals after a 2010 season of blackouts across the board.
There are so many possibilities.
Is the new Bucs $25 youth ticket there more to save money on blackout prevention than to lure families to the games?
Joe suspects Team Glazer, being the shrewd business folks they are, will allow a few blackouts to happen in 2010, yet step up to prevent others.
For one, this would allow Team Glazer’s sales team to honestly drive up Buccaneers Radio Network advertising rates while allowing Team Glazer to look like heroes on certain weeks to local sports bar owners and tens of thousands of couch-potato fans at home. (Joe would love to know how the radio ads are being pitched now compared to at this time last year.)
Maybe Team Glazer allows opening day to get blacked out to guage fan reaction, and then steps up later in the season — always at the 11th hour — to keep all other games on TV?
Again, Joe’s just not seeing why Team Glazer would make a such a bold move to prevent blacked out games in 2009, and then radically shift gears and let every game fall off TV in 2010. Joe can’t figure out any logic to that.
Of course, ticket sales figures for the Bucs fall under the One Buc Palace cone of silence, so it’s all a bunch of guesswork. And that should be advantageous to Team Glazer as the season approaches, since fans surely will, in fact, believe that management would let games stay off local televison.
Joe suspects that Team Glazer, come September, will want to call fans’ bluff on opening day just to see what happens.
Joe thinks there are loads of disgruntled fans who would rather pony up the cash on opening day than drive three or four hours round trip to watch at a sports bar. The problem is only a real threat of a blackout is how Team Glazer will find out how many of those fans exist.