No Blackouts Offer A Peek Into Glazers’ Minds

December 30th, 2009

"Joel, you're good at math. Let's see, 15,000 empty seats X $100 apiece, plus parking and beer and ..."

There’s not a worry in the air that the meaningless Bucs-Falcons home game on Sunday, to be played in 50-degree weather, will be blacked out.

Who could have imagined that back in September, when the Bucs were peddling tickets on every other billboard and radio station around town. 

Surely, there will be about 15,000+ empty seats on Sunday against Atlanta. Heck, there were officially 8,800+ empty seats for the much hyped Ring of Honor game against the Packers in November and more than 15,000+ when the Bucs faced the then undefeated Saints, per Tampa Sports Authority figures (only reported by

So what gives?

Numerous NFL teams this season have gotten extensions from the league to sell tickets to try and avoid home games being blacked out on local television. Other teams have, in fact, had blacked out games.

The Glazers apparently will have none of that, despite thousands of single upper deck seats available on gameday for every home game. 

Team Glazer put its foot down this season. They didn’t let any games get blacked out. Somehow, Bryan and Joel are gobbling up tickets and eating the cost.

That should let any thinking Bucs fan know how important ticket sales are to the Glazers. For Joe, their sparing Bucs fans blackouts is an indicator that ticket sales might be their No. 1  priority when determining who coaches the Bucs in 2010.

It also tells Joe know that an unexpectedly big turnout on Sunday could help Raheem The Dream a lot more than one more victory.

22 Responses to “No Blackouts Offer A Peek Into Glazers’ Minds”

  1. Jeff Says:

    If I lived there still, I’d be there. Unfortunately, I live in Panther country and subjected to daily abuse. My response was always, “we have a franchise qb and a new coach”. These days, I may be only half right. ANY new coach and we rebuild all over again…and we saw how painful the Bates implementation went. Uhg.

  2. Mr. Lucky Says:

    Joe – switching topics but has anyone heard about Brighthouse possibly dropping FOX on Jan 1? No Sugar Bowl? No New Years Gator Games? Oh the pain, the pain…

  3. Sunrisejeff Says:

    I was worried about that to Lucky…..I called Brighthouse today and yesterday and they assured me that the contract with Fox was a done deal and they would not be dropping them……..

  4. Pete Says:

    Upper deck? Let me tell you plenty of “scalpers” and on line sites had good lower seats too. And plenty of Lower deck fans came looking like empty red seats.

  5. Wayne Says:

    Joe, It is rumored that the Glazers purchase the remaining tickets (from themselves) because the TV revenue money makes it worth purchasing them vs a blackout. So, that TV revenue money must be very lucrative if you still profit after purchasing all those empty seats. That, in turn, gives us a glimpse of just how much money they gross when they sold out the stadium. I wonder if it will be worth it next year when they have to purchase 3/4 of the seats vs a blackout. That is, should they keep Morris.
    If they bring in Cowher, or someone like him, they might just sell some tickets again. Do you know the TV revenue structure?

  6. buckeyebob Says:

    Let me tell you these guys are doing what a lot of owners do. Here in southern Ohio the folks who own the Bengals (in the playoffs) have had to extend almost every home game to sell out…..the family bought some and strong armed local corp deep pockets to buy the rest to sell out. My guess is the Buc’s will not have to do that when they return to the playoffs.

  7. Mr. Lucky Says:

    Actually the legal way is that one of the Glazer’s companies buys the remaining tickets to preserve the TV revenue stream and the company that buys the tickets writes the costs of the tickets as an “entertaining expense” on their corporate taxes. It’s a legit 50% of the face value tax deduction.

    Now if they THEN donate the said tickets to a NPO they “could” attempt to write off the other 50% face value of the tickets as a charitable donation. That’s a real gray area but …

  8. Joe Says:

    Mr. Lucky:

    Joe – switching topics but has anyone heard about Brighthouse possibly dropping FOX on Jan 1? No Sugar Bowl? No New Years Gator Games? Oh the pain, the pain…

    Joe is a proud DirecTV subscriber; has been for some 15 years, and as a result enjoys the NFL Network on a daily basis.

    Simply put, FOX — or to be fair, Bright House Networks — is not denying anyone the ability to watch the Sugar Bowl. Anyone with an antenna can watch the game. For free.

  9. BigMacAttack Says:

    I have Verizon FIOS and it’s pretty good stuff all the way around. Expensive, but you get what you pay for, especially the DVR with slow mo, rewind and all the goodies.

  10. Ben Says:

    It has been reported before that the NFL requires no proof of a sell out. Now obviously the blackout rule is in place to help protect the owners, so it appears that if they don’t want the protection, the NFL lets it slide.

    As for BHN, overall they aren’t a good provider. I mean they are the last to get every sports channel in HD and are the last major provider in the US (bundling TWC and BHN together here because they buy channels together) to not carry the NFL Network.

    So if you want to watch FOX — if BHN actually calls FOX’s bluff — you can just switch to DirecTV, Dish Network, Verizon FiOS or buy an antenna (and maybe a converter box). So yeah, there are plenty of options for real sports fans.

  11. Ben Says:


    Expensive? I only pay $47 a month and I get the NFL Network and many more channels in HD that BHN doesn’t offer. How exactly is that expensive?

  12. BigMacAttack Says:

    I have their highest speed internet, telephone, 6 boxes, 2 DVR’s, all the movie channels and the expanded HD package. It’s about $175/mo. with tax. It is what it is. I quit smoking cigs a couple years ago when I first got it, so it was pretty much a trade off. I can’t stop drinking though. Just isn’t going to happen.

  13. Mr. Lucky Says:

    BigMacAttack wrote: “I can’t stop drinking though. Just isn’t going to happen”

    See what happens when you become a Bucs fans? 😉

  14. admin Says:

    Joe here,

    Ben, would love to see a link/or report to what you mentioned about blackouts, that teams can decline the NFL “protection.” Never heard or sniffed that anywhere. Doesn’t really make sense.

  15. Pete Says:

    Verizon Fios was nice when I had it in Bradenton but its not everywhere. Here in Lakeland its in some parts of the city but not in others.

    Directv is OK.

    I would probably go back to FIOS if it was available.

    Brighthouse is not OK.

  16. Ben Says:

    Here you go.

  17. Ben Says:

    You don’t need all that stuff just to watch the NFL Network, in fact all you need is the $47 package and a CableCARD (assuming you have your own STB). I mean including the price of Internet and telephone and everything else you get it is still pretty cheap. It breaks down to basically about $50 for each service (TV, phone, internet).

  18. admin Says:

    Joe here,

    Thanks, Ben. It’s as I thought.

    I worked for the Raiders organization once upon a time, and for every ticket sold there is significant revenue that is sent per ticket/or ticket $ spent back to the NFL. So the Glazers do have to buy the tickets in the sense they have to cut a check for every ticket sold back to the NFL, plus local taxes, etc.

    Then honor system referenced is simply on the fact the tickets were “sold” by a certain date, but the money is still due to the NFL, and subsequently to the local government. In Jacksonville and other cities, the teams haven’t wanted to fork over that kind of money — eating tickets.

  19. Rick in Seminole Says:

    Check out this link regarding the Jags blackout situation:

    Raymond James stadium has around 15,000 Club and Suite seats. So the Glazer’s don’t have to buy nearly as many seats as it may seem.

    Another thing they do is upgrade upper deck seatholders to the club seats for a game. It is a bonus for the people and it makes the Club section look full. It makes sense as I was in Miami for the game last month and their club section looked almost empty.

  20. admin Says:

    Joe here,

    Rick, first let me say that broke the story, that the Bucs were upgrading season ticket holders to club seats.

    You’ll notice our dateline for that story is the day prior to the message board thread you included. And we quoted the Bucs director of media with an explanation. …You’ll get a share of fresh news here on

    Second, the Glazers do have to buy up loads of non-club seats. All you have to do is see what’s available now on Ticketmaster or call the Bucs ticket office.

  21. Rick in Seminole Says:

    Forgive me Joe, I do remember reading it in your column. I did a search for a link to the story and that was the first one that popped up.

    I was under the impression the tickets for sale from the Bucs and Ticketmaster were simply unsold seats from people not renewing their season tickets.

    You’re saying the Bucs had to purchase these and are now reselling them?

  22. Ben Says:

    You were nicer than I would’ve been to Rick, but perhaps he does have a point: You might need to work on your search engine optimization. 😉