Don’t Freak Out Over Blackout Announcement

October 21st, 2010

Yes, the Bucs game with the Lambs will be blacked out, pending confirmation by the Bucs today at 1 p.m. This is expected.

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.

40 Responses to “Don’t Freak Out Over Blackout Announcement”

  1. Atrain WD40 Says:

    “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?”

    Well said Joe!

  2. eric Says:

    Nice all out defense of Team Glazer!

    Are you mowing their lawn later?

  3. Phil J> Says:

    Where’s the defense of Glazers? I still have idiots at my office who think the Glazers somehow are scheming to keep the games off TV. What, are they hijacking the people who come so it looks empty? No, we’re the only city in the US with all these empties. The only blame is the economy and weakass fan base around here.

  4. eric Says:

    Oh it couldn’t possibly be at least partly caused by the way the Glazer Boys have been operating the team, could it. Fan’s don’t think it is a conspiracy, their not stupid, a lot of folks are highly unimpressed with the product and the management of the team.

    It’s an over the top gushing slobering all over yourself defense of the Glazers, unusual for JBF.COM. Would expect it from TBO, not here.

  5. derf Says:

    It’s part of a bigger plot on the part of the NFL owners. By declaring less income from the fan base it gives the owners more clout with the upcoming CBA. Blackouts will only cause more disinterest and you’ll have less ticket sales.

    Let’s face it folks when a team like the Bucs has no stars, no direction and nothing ‘wowing’ fans to the stadium there is always another team on TV to watch.

    In addition with Fantasy football I don’t have a single Buc on my roster anymore. So I’d rather see games with importance and excitement. Plus there is the internet feeds that are totally legal. Yes I said totally legal because existing laws on the book refer to BROADCAST situations but with the internet it is a STREAMING media. Yeah that’s legalese but until there are such rules on the book the NFL is like the toothless Bumble – scarey but no bite.

    Keep it up NFL, piss off the fan base there’s no competition this time of year is there? No we just have baseball playoff games, NBA preseason games, NHL games as well.

  6. PWNASAURUS Says:

    Wow. Eric comes out in the week after a loss. Big Surprise. Where were you eric after the 3 wins which mean the Bucs are 3-2. You hate it don’t you. You wanted to see them fail so bad you schmuck. You are whats wrong with this town and people like you who want instant gratification or your not interested. Your probably 1 of the idiots who think Ruud is good.

  7. derf Says:

    Hey Pwnasaurus – why not try this, stop the personal attacks on people. Debate the argument with facts. Please oh please show me in a post, any post, where eric wrote he wanted the Bucs to fail.

  8. Joe Says:

    PWNASAURUS:

    You are whats wrong with this town and people like you who want instant gratification or your not interested. Your probably 1 of the idiots who think Ruud is good.

    Quality blast. But in defense of Eric, a longtime-Joe reader and a good guy, Eric is a season ticket holder who has been to every Bucs home game this year.

  9. tommy Says:

    would anyone be sad to see eric jump off the skyway???? what a tool

  10. Joe Says:

    Derf:

    You raise several interesting points, some of which Joe will use in another post, maybe this week.

    The NFL as a whole has made it so going to games is not the best experience. Combining all the nickel-and-diming that goes into the cost of a game (ticket, parking, food, drink), the hassle (lines at the urinal, traffic, time consumption) with not always great seats, and then you throw in how fantasy football has exploded and people can watch the Red Zone Channel on their 52-inch HD at home and get great instant replays angles/shots, well, it’s a league-wide problem.

    Currently, going to the game isn’t always the best or most convenient choice.

    Now you throw in the fact the league is cracking down on defenders which very well may turn the NFL into arena football…

  11. derf Says:

    Hey it’s not just Tampa – read this article from the Washington Post:

    http://views.washingtonpost.com/theleague/panelists/2009/05/lower-everything-prices.html

  12. Al Says:

    I totally agree with you Joe. I happen to have season tix but I will never crucify someone for not having them. We are in tough times. The Bucs don’t make the rules. We have one of the better fan bases in the league, but it’s simply not easy to pay for these tix for many of us. Things will change. We’ll sell out the stadium again.

  13. derf Says:

    You too tommy?

    This is getting scarey and I’m not talking Halloween scarey. Why must you people personally attack someone with whom you disagree? When I read your ‘blasts’ I think that you people are just like Whoopie Goldberg and Joy Baehar. You know the two ‘liberals’ who want to talk about everything but when you bring up a subject in which their stance is wrong they scream, stand up and walk away.

    Eric wrote, ‘Fan’s don’t think it is a conspiracy, their [they're] not stupid, a lot of folks are highly unimpressed with the product and the management of the team.’

    Debate that. Are YOU impressed with the product [Bucs] and management of the team? If so WHY?

  14. JimBuc Says:

    Eric, someone with your perspective automatically blames the blackouts on the Bucs perfromance on the file. Truth is, that is the very last issue. Most fans that attend games are NOT hard core fans like those found on these sites. Many of the tickets — including season tickets — are sold to people who are fans, but who use the ticket for some other purpose (i.e marketing). The economy is down, unemployment is up. I know that does not fit with your agenda (i.e the world came to an end when the Glazers fired Gruden or didn’t hire “the Chin”), but the truth is the perfromance is not the major issue. The whole NFL is struggling with attendance because the game are so enjoyable on TV. Maybe the Glazers are to blame for TV?

    Can anyone find even a signle article or news piece lauding the Glazers for buying tickets last year to avoid blackouts?

  15. Apple Roof Cleaning Says:

    It is not just Tampa, people are hurting everywhere. The economy in Tampa is really bad lately.

  16. derf Says:

    Joe, with the digital revolution the NFL sticks out like a Yugo on a Lincoln/Mercury sales lot. Sure a Yugo runs but why would you pay for it when you can get a quality Lincoln for a little more.

    Times are changing and the NFL makes MORE in TV contracts and merchandizing then actual ticket sales. Today’s stadiums are palaces compared to stadiums just 20 years ago.

    Now the NFL wants to suspend players for helmet to helmet contacts just because a few players got jarred last weekend? COME ON MAN!

    They issue a $50,000 FINE to the guy hitting DeShawn Jackson!!!! Players 20 years ago barely MADE $50,000! Who’s paying that salary – the FANS.

    Wake up Goddell or you will ruin football just like the players/owners ruined baseball long ago.

  17. JimBuc Says:

    wow, my typing is awful. sorry.

  18. derf Says:

    JimBucs wrote, ‘Can anyone find even a signle article or news piece lauding the Glazers for buying tickets last year to avoid blackouts?’

    NOPE. Last season what the Glazers did was unnecessary and very much unappreciated. They COULD have let blackouts happen in 2009 but didnt’ want to let their ‘franchise QB’ be blacked out. In retrospect I think it was a sign of goodwill on their part – mostly unappreciated by the local fan base.

    I don’t blame the Glazers for the blackouts – I blame the NFL completely! Arcane rules from a group that is doing to football what the record industry did in the 1990′s when confronted by Napster…and we all know how that turned out.

  19. Tampa2 Says:

    While I do understand the economy hurting the fans, some of us have chosen not to attend Bucs games because of the way the Sons of Malcom have ran the team since taking over. The last straw for a lot of us was when they fired Gruden, cut all the veterans, and named an amateur to be the HC. Some of you can scream all you want to about how they were old, etc. But cutting all of the good veterans at once, along with naming Dominik & Raheem to such key positions at the same time, was a slap in the face for a lot of us fans.
    Not all of the empty seats are due to the economy. And alot of us think that the “youth movement” is just an excuse to cut costs & allow the Glazers to use the Bucs income to cover their ManU & other debts. In short, the Glazer could care less about the fans or the City. They are only after the cash!

  20. d-money Says:

    Im going to come to Eric’s defense here guys.

    I have to say that I almost always disagree with everything that Eric says. but I have noticed that unlike some other people he does on very rare occasions give credit when he feels it is due.

    Its very rare and I still think he would rather be a negative jerk but I do think he wants the best for the team. He just doesn’t feel that’s what we have right now.

    He’s just your classic glass half empty guy.

    As for Javier he’s just a miserable F$*&.

  21. eric Says:

    Why are we going all the way to California for comparables. Have the Jags or Dolphins had any blackouts? Weren’t the bucs the only team in the league to have their home opener blacked out?

    They have more rabid fans than the Bucs? I think not.

    The stadium sold out for twelve straight years. People had t.v. sets then also.

    Nobody thinks the 2-9 home record since the new regime took over is a factor at all?

  22. derf Says:

    My personal take on this whole matter is that the NFL and Glazers had been ‘sticking’ it to the fans in 2005 and beyond. However with a winning team and hope to be playoff bound fans just tolerated the excessive fees. So each and every year they just increased and increased and increased parking fees, concession fees, etc.,

    Now when the product is no longer competitive it’s the last straw and BAM lost ticket sales.

    Let’s face it there are a lot of OTHER options competing for fans $$$$…

    Take a typical cell phone bill for example. In 2001 most people only used their phones for talking. Today with iphones and internet/mp3/video streaming/NFL access…and that comes with a fee.

  23. Joe Says:

    JimBuc:

    Can anyone find even a signle article or news piece lauding the Glazers for buying tickets last year to avoid blackouts?

    Check Joe’s archives. :)

  24. BigMacAttack Says:

    Wow, why all the Eric hate? God forbid you have an opinion that others disagree with. Eric says some funny $h!t, like the mowing the grass comment. Maybe all the hate is just another product of the bad economy. I don’t concur that the Blackouts are not the Glazer’s fault. They are one of the 32 team owners, that by the way, just met again, to discuss all things NFL. They could have loudly voiced opposition to the Blackout rule, along with Al Davis and others and probably been able to suspend it temporarily and immediately. They obviously didn’t and neither did the other owners, and to say they aren’t taking a shot at their fans and sponsors, by maintaining the Archaic Rule is flat out wrong, even if it is only 1/32 or 3.125% their fault, it’s their fault. Own it.

  25. McBuc Says:

    Eric says “Nobody thinks the 2-9 home record since the new regime took over is a factor at all?”

    I do! I think the economy plays a role, but the team’s record plays a huge role. More so here in tampa than most other cities. I love this area, so I am not ripping on Tampa bay. I was born and raised here. Our community is full of transplants, so when the team is losing it is easy for people to go back to routing for Green bay, New England, New york, etc. The Bucs are also a young team as far as NFL teams go. I am a huge fan, but I was 6 before the Bucs even existed! In another 10 to 20 years we should have the loyal “lifer” fans like the old teams. Look at Cleveland, they have been bad for a long time, but their fans are down right nuts about the Brown’s. Visit their sites, they have some negative types but not like they do here in tampa bay. Anyway, i agree with you on this point Eric. I diagree with you on the building plan being bad, it just takes time. But it is crazy to think that the team record has nothing to do with the blackouts…I also think Derf brings up an interesting angle, especially for the younger generations.

  26. Pete Dutcher Says:

    Eric has his ups and downs, and I really don’t care what he says one way or another. He’s entitled to his opinion.

    That said, I can’t wait to see that article, Joe!

    To address this one though, I was surprised that the team announced the blackout for the game…and a day later they announced it for the season!

    I have to ask…are the Tampa fans really so stupid that they cannot see a patern of blacked out games leading to the blackout of this weeks game? I don’t think we are.

    So saying the team was merely giving us advance warning is a copout. More likely, they were hoping that by doing so more people will buy the tickets…trying to scare people into buying the tickets.

    But it won’t work.

    And finally, to address the potential lockout and whether teams are intentionally NOT selling out in order to gain leverage in negotiations…it’s possible, but I doubt it. The teams may not make a lot on the games themselves, but the backlash from the fans as a result of the blackouts is going to affect revenue in the future.

    For example, with so many blackouts, how long will networks be willing to pay for product they cannot air?

    And, about the lockout
    …I think we are going to start hearing that there will not be one. I know I’ve been making the assumption that there would be one, but more and more I’m seeing…probabilities…that there will not be one. Probabilities are a big part of my life and career, so I’ve learned to watch for them. If you know enough about a situation and the people involved you can predict end results accurately.

    I’m not saying there won’t be a lockout…yet. But I am starting to suspect there will not be.

  27. derf Says:

    McBuc – Browns fans are just plain CRAZY. Have YOU tried living in Cleveland? You’ve got to be made, especially in the winter.

  28. derf Says:

    Pete how can you say no blackouts? Come on man the last CBA was a terrible deal for the owners. The players and owners are just plaine greedy and everything with sports needs to be reduced 25% or more.

    You think players are gonna settle for that?

    Once you give a person something they get really, really upset when you try and take it back – look at the blackout situation.

    From a business perspective the teams with the lowest amount of home ticket sales get an extra portion of the TV contracts so pissing off the home fan base for a single year is actually ‘productive’ with this silly contract the NFL has.

    Not only that it provides leverage with the players union.

    The worse offenders here are the players agents. Look at the salaries for the draft picks – how can anyone justify those salaries for untested players? Look at what McCoy is making vs. Roy Miller. Is McCoy doing 200x better – I think not. How many more Jamarcus Russell’s are we going to have?

    Who pays these players salaries? The fans ultimately.

  29. Dave Says:

    “eric Says:
    Oh it couldn’t possibly be at least partly caused by the way the Glazer Boys have been operating the team, could it. Fan’s don’t think it is a conspiracy, their not stupid, a lot of folks are highly unimpressed with the product and the management of the team.”

    No it is not… mostly. No one ANYWHERE in the nation was talking about blackouts at NFL games for the past decade until the last couple years suddenly. What? There were no bad owners and bad teams then? there was no rebuilding going on?

    Sure, the youth movement, because the Glazers screwed themsleves financially AND the fact that a youth movement was needed, and rebuilding process has not helped. It sure as hell is not the cause of 10-15 thousand people staying home. It is a SMALL factor.

    The economy and the direction of the economy is the main reason. Florida gets hit twice as hard in a recession because we lose jobs AND tourism drops which reduces the number state income.

    Bottom line is the attendance issues here and at Jax, SD, St Loius, Detroit, Oakland, etc… is manily because the economy and it is pretty bad timing to be ‘rebuilding’ at the same time.

  30. JimBuc Says:

    If you are unhappy with the Bucs — Eric, Tampa2 etc — you think that the low attendance if a result of poor play because it fits your agenda. And, you say extreme things like Eric suggesting that his detractors are saying that performance plays “NO ROLE”:

    “Nobody thinks the 2-9 home record since the new regime took over is a factor at all?”

    Of course perfromance is a factor, but it is no where near the main factor. Proof is that there are league-wide attendance issues. Going to a stadium to see a game is not that great of a value anymore. Period.

    Proof is that the economy is awful and Tampa, in particular, has a small hard core fan base for all sports (see Rays attendance)

    Don’t use attaendance to push your anti-Glazer, anti-Morris point of view!

  31. admin Says:

    Joe here,

    JimBucs – There no absolutes in this situation. The Bucs attendance is nowhere near as bad as the other struggling teams. The Bucs will have 20K empty seats on Sunday. Does any other team have 10K? Things are not twice as bad here as in other markets. Fan disillusionment is a factor when you look at the total number, though the economy would be blacking us out regardless, which was the point of the post.

  32. Dave Says:

    Pete Dutcher

    You said they do NOT make much at the games???? You are talking about 60,000+ people in ticket sales and concessions. My educated guess is at least 6 million PER GAME in ticket sales alone and at least another 1.5 million in concessions.

    Plus they are losing TV money with the blackouts.

  33. eric Says:

    The Rays are a totally different animal. They simply have not drawn since day one. Bad economy, good economy, winning or not winning the Rays just do not draw.

    The Bucs, on the other hand, have had very good season ticket sales and attendance in the past. Even sold a bunch of those PSI’s so the new stadium could be built.

    Economy is a factor, but the Glazer boys are also a factor, they seem entirely tone deaf to the fans IMO. Or, at the very least have allowed that narrative to take hold. They havent needed to exercise blackouts to alienate fans. Other actions or inactions have taken care of that.

  34. Joe Says:

    Dave:

    Plus they are losing TV money with the blackouts.

    TV contracts are negotiated well in advance. The money is upfront. Blackouts or not, NFL teams get X-amount of millions per year. NFL owners don’t lose a dime of TV money with a blackout.

    In fact, the NFL gets millions from DirecTV whether next season is played or not.

  35. Hawaiian Buc Says:

    Like most things, it is probably a combination of a bunch of things as to why the games aren’t selling out. I lived in Tampa during the Dungy years and I never got to go to a game because I couldn’t afford it. The games were sold out and tickets on the street were ridiculous. However, during the last couple years under Gruden, people were practically giving away tickets. I’ll never forget paying $800 online for 2 tickets in 2008, only to have our flight attendant offer me practically the same seats for $50 (of course my wife will never let me forget it even if I could). So I’m not a total believer in the theory that it’s mostly due to the actions of the Glazers. The problems were already bubbling before Gruden was gone. Perhaps it just boiled over, but it most likely was going to happen regardless IMO.

    I do know one thing for sure, if fans are in fact “boycotting” the games, they are making a huge mistake. You might as well go out and get your Miami Dolphin shirts, because they will move this team and you’ll be without a team in Tampa. You are naive if you think otherwise. I hate the fact that I am only able to go to a couple games a year due to me living 5000 miles away, and it’s crazy to me that some of you take that for granted (the ones that can afford it). Trying to prove a point to the owners by not going to the game is like boycotting McDonalds because their food is too greasy – Pointless!

  36. derf Says:

    Hawaiian Buc

    You bring forth many good points however there is no way the owners can move the Bucs from Raymond James – at least for a few more years. The terms of their contract in order to get the new stadium built included some clause relative to their relocation (I believe – I’m sure Jim[Joel]Buc[Glazer]) knows the specifics.

    Secondly, for arguments sake, lets say the Bucs picked up and moved – to where? LA? There are other teams more at risk – say JAX before the Bucs moved. But at least we wouldn’t have to worry about blackouts then right?

  37. sensiblebuc Says:

    “The worse offenders here are the players agents. Look at the salaries for the draft picks – how can anyone justify those salaries for untested players? Look at what McCoy is making vs. Roy Miller. Is McCoy doing 200x better – I think not. How many more Jamarcus Russell’s are we going to have?”

    I disagree. Agents are an easy scapegoat when, in actuality, players, owners, agents AND fans are complicit in the overblown rookie salaries. Owners have to pay those escalating salaries every year because fans would lose it if their 1st round draft pick didnt get signed. Rookie salaries are slotted on an escalating system based indirectly on league revenues. Agents are simply facilitators working in the players best interest…just like the GM is a facilitator working in the franchise’s best interest.

    Bottom line: The NFL, like any service based business, is ultimately a slave to the consumer. If/when the NFL prices most fans out coming to games, they’ll adjust or they’ll risk losing even more money in the long run.

  38. sensiblebuc Says:

    @ Derf

  39. BigMacAttack Says:

    derf Says:
    October 21st, 2010 at 4:37 pm

    Hawaiian Buc
    …there is no way the owners can move the Bucs from Raymond James – at least for a few more years. The terms of their contract…

    ——————————————————–

    Since when did NFL Owners start abiding by the terms of their Contracts???

    Kidding right?

  40. Jimmy Delach Says:

    I agree that the NFL has a right to black out home games be it the Bucs or otherwise (*cough* Raiders! *cough*). I have lived in Hernando County for roughly 30 years and I have followed the Bucs since I was in high school and I remember home games not being televised locally (and a lot of home games weren’t shown when the late Hugh Culverhouse owned the team!). Tampa/Houlihan’s Stadium, the Bucs’ former home hosted 173 Bucs games and 137 home games were not televised locally that means Bucs home games at Tampa/Houlihan’s Stadium were blacked out 79.2% of the time. When Raymond James Stadium opened up, I didn’t think I’d live to witness another Buccaneers blackout ever again. Then Larry, Curly and Moe Glazer decided to get a little greedy and raise – er, I mean JACK UP! – ticket prices when the economy started getting bad. The Glazers don’t care about fans concerns during these rough economic times. Even though they did lower ticket prices this offseason, to many fans’ minds’ – including my own – it was TOO LITTLE, TOO LATE! The Glazers should not have waved their magic wands to put home games on TV. Last year, the Bucs should’ve blacked out every game except the Dallas game since according to the Tampa Sports Authority, it was the only game in which over 60,000 fans actually showed up on Gameday (lot of Cowboys fans too, no doubt!). The Glazers care only about their wallets, not their fans. Wouldn’t be surprised if they were talking to Magic Johnson to see about relocating the team to L.A. Since in the minds of the Glazers, Tampa Bay doesn’t have enough fans.

 
 

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