Don’t Freak Out Over Blackout AnnouncementOctober 21st, 2010
What Joe didn’t expect was the nasty and unfair backlash the Bucs received last week about the blackout.
Lest we forget, it is NFL rules that force blackouts. The Bucs don’t make the call.
Last week, the Bucs announced on a Monday that the Saints game, based on the prior rate of ticket sales, would be blacked out. For some reason some fans erupted in outrage and Joe just couldn’t understand why.
So these same fans would rather have been given false hope that the game had a chance of being televised locally? Joe, and we all should, hope that sports organizations be upfront and honest with fans. The Bucs absolutely were with regards to the Saints game.
So why the hate?
If anything, the Bucs were giving fans more than fair warning so fans could make arrangements and plans otherwise, such as perhaps going to the game or taking advantage of The Blackout Tour.
Long before the season started, the Bucs made no secret that games would likely be blacked out unless there was a surge in ticket sales. With sluggish ticket sales in this rotten local economy, it became clear that there were only two games that had any chance of selling out, short of an unforeseen uptick in ticket sales: Pittsburgh and New Orleans.
The Steelers game did not sell out, though it was close, thanks to the always rabid Steelers fanbase who would travel to far reaches of the globe to watch the Steelers. The New Orleans game was always dicey in that Saints fans don’t travel nearly that well.
Joe was flabbergasted when some fans reacted the way they did when the Bucs announced it would be blacked out, barring a massive rush to buy tickets at the last moment.
Were these same outraged fans paying attention at all the past few months?
Look, blackouts suck. For everyone. It has little to do with people not caring about the Bucs. People simply cannot afford to go in these trying times. A third of Tampa Bay’s homes are underwater. Foreclosures are at record levels.
What, people should lose their house and buy Bucs season tickets? Seriously? Many people are working weekend jobs just to save their homes. So they should quit their second jobs to go to a Bucs game and have no home to come to later?
Unemployment in the immediate Tampa Bay area is 13 percent. Lakeland and Sarasota, where many Bucs season ticket holders came from, is worse off.
And as Joe has written before, it’s not just a Tampa Bay thing. Oakland, despite its massive fan base, cannot sell out games. San Diego, one of the better NFL teams with a dynamic quarterback, struggles to avoid blackouts.
Hell, if it wasn’t for Anheuser-Busch and a deep-pocketed TV station buying thousands of tickets in St. Louis, the Rams would have had blackouts.
Shoot, watch the next Florida State home game, a team that school boosters claimed had rivers of new revenue since Jimbo Fisher took over, and notice the tens of thousands of empty seats for maybe the best team in the state. Two years ago, those same seats were filled with garnet-attired fans.
The blackouts aren’t some devious plan by Team Glazer to alienate the local fanbase.