Is England About Attendance?April 15th, 2011
There’s been rampant “why” speculation surrounding the Bucs agreeing to move the Bucs-Bears 2011 home game to England.
The Bucs have deferred official comment to the NFL suits until the league announces its schedule. But, of course, that doesn’t stop every beat writer, analyst, blogger, talking head and water-cooler philosopher from chiming in with a definitive take.
Veteran Bucs beat scribe Woody Cummings of The Tampa Tribune chimed in with vigor during an interview on The Fabulous Sports Babe Show on WHBO-AM 1040 today.
Cummings wagged a finger at Bucs fans for bringing the loss of a home game on themselves.
“Folks, this is what happens when you don’t come out and support your football team. Sometimes they might take it away,” Cummings said to those complaining about Team Glazer agreeing to play in England for the second time in three years.
The dean of Tampa Bay sports radio, Steve Duemig, of WDAE-AM 620, had a similar take last week.
And Cummings echoed a popular opinion that the Bucs didn’t want a repeat of the Bucs-Steelers game last year, when the C.I.T.S. was overwhelmed by Steelers colors and the game was blacked out, just short of a sellout.
While Joe gets why the Bucs agreed to play the Bears in England, and it’s a sound gamble for the long term health of the franchise, the attendance part of the equation is a tough one for Joe to swallow.
Are we to accept in April, with an improving economy and a vastly improved football team with legitimate stars, that a home game in October against the Bears is going to be a repeat of the Pittsburgh invasion of 2010? Joe’s not buying that six months out.
Is there no confidence in the Buccaneers’ sales and marketing staffs? Perhaps those departments need to be put under the microscope. Last Joe checked, JoeBucsFan.com has never been hit up to buy season tickets and never been approached to creatively, or traditionally, market ticket sales.
But so what if there are 25,000 Bears fans at the C.I.T.S? What better way to generate buzz and passion among your own fan base — and the visitor’s — then to bury Chicago on the home turf? And experienced Bucs fans know that half those Bears fans are bandwagoners living locally who’d be happy to start calling themselves Bucs fans when Tampa Bay returns to glory.
Last Joe checked, fans get jacked up and start buying gear and talking up the team when they experience a big home victory in the flesh.
A near-full stadium, including Bears fans, seems like a game the Bucs should have been salivating over.