Winning, Not Coaches, Sell Tickets

January 9th, 2010

empty raymond jamesIf Joe didn’t know any better, he’d be of the mind that Tampa Bay’s sports voice of reason, Joe Henderson of the Tampa Tribune, frequents the comments section of this very site.

If there was a constant among most commenters on this blog, it was that fans did not want Raheem the Dream to return as the Bucs head coach next season.

Henderson, if he does not believe that himself, certainly seems to sympathize. He has dire predictions for what will pass as “crowds” next season at the CITS.

This is the fourth consecutive year that the number of people actually using their tickets was lower than the season before. There is a disconnect between this team and this town. It isn’t likely to be helped by Monday’s announcement that Raheem Morris will return as head coach next season.

It was a reach to put him in this position a year ago, given his limited experience. Bringing him back now basically asks fans for a level of trust that ownership hasn’t earned.

Co-chairman Joel Glazer said, “We are committed to the plan that we began 12 months ago with Coach Morris, and we look forward to building on the pieces that were put in place this season.”

I suspect the Bucs will soon learn that a lot of fans of this team are committed to plans of their own. Those plans include Sundays spent in the yard, at the mall, at the beach, at Grandma’s house, or basically anything that doesn’t include paying to watch the men of pewter.

Here is Joe’s take on the attendance: Four years ago this market was flush with cash. The same cannot be said now.

Less jobs = less money = people unable to buy tickets at higher prices than they were four years ago. It’s really that simple.

That’s one reason Joe believed Bill Cowher was not the (short-term) answer. People claimed Cowher would bring buzz and sell tickets. But if Cowher wasn’t winning, does anyone believe the CITS would be packed? Buzz only goes so far (like what happens when Joe stops drinking Caybrew).

If the Bucs begin winning, no matter who is coaching, people will find ways to scrape together a few bucks and go to a game.

Rock star coaches only go so far. Eventually, coaches have to win, no matter how big of a name they have, no matter their resumes.

Don’t believe Joe? Just ask Chucky and Bobby Bowden.

20 Responses to “Winning, Not Coaches, Sell Tickets”

  1. Pruritis Ani Says:

    I agree with the premise Joe.. Cowher himself would bring fans to the stadium. He’s a big name and the perception is that he will win. The stats back him up. In 15 seasons he was below .500 only 3 times. Contrast Cowher with a coach who doesn’t excite the fanbase or a coach with a dismal record and you have fan apathy which corresponds with dismal ticket sales.

    The economy is bad everywhere. But it seems in markets where teams are winning, people find a way to fork out the money for tickets.

  2. justin Says:

    and the attendance will be even worse next year but thats what happens when you hire a head coach in the nfl who has never even been a cordinator in his whole life and have been the cheapest spending team in the nfl for the past 5 years. 30 million under the cap again for the 5th straight year and our owners have the nerve to say that we probably wont be able to spend money on players this year keep raising the ticket prices every year i believe we have the 3rd highest ticket prices in the whole nfl roger goodell needs to step in and take action against these owners spend money on your team or sell it

  3. Louie Says:

    A big name coach would stimulate ticket sales for one season, but only sustained winning will keep the stadium filled. HOWEVER, Good Owners + Good Head Coach = WINNING. We don’t have good owners (won’t spend money). Morris will one day be a good coach, but is too inexperienced at this point. I’m sure some people will say you need good players, but a good coach will find a way to win with limited talent. You probably can’t get to the Superbowl without good players, but you can certainaly win.

  4. JDouble Says:

    We have a 2nd year franchise QB for the first time in a very long time, a young defense that came on strong and showed alot of promise torward the end of the season, and we’ll have a bunch of exciting new top rookies next year. How could a fan not be excited?

    If Raymond James isn’t sold out next year, there is no one to blame but a bunch of weak ass fans. I can’t stand this “I’m taking my ball and going home” mentality I see so often from Buc fans. If your only supportive when everything is great, then your not really a fan are you? If we are 1-7 at mid season than yes, I would expect people to stay away, but unless we come out and stink it up and lose all our games…our stadium SHOULD be full. If it’s not then maybe Tampa doesn’t sdeserve an NFL franchise.

  5. Matt Says:

    Attitude fans—-players,owners but much more important.coaches–being
    professional 24/7 is a must—do we have these things? no

  6. George Says:

    All season people asked me why I went to the games. I always said you have to take the bad seasons just like the good ones. That stadium has always had a large contingent of Fair Weather fans.

    To me, it’s economics. The fans sitting around me won’t walk away from there seats because of a loosing season(s). They will leave them because they just can’t afford them.

  7. buckeyebob Says:

    Hey, I live in SW Ohio now and this team has been BAD for a long time and yet they sell out on a regular basis. If you are a team guy then stick with them good or bad. The Bucs will do much better next year and if there is no lockout in 2011 just watch them go to the playoffs.

  8. justin Says:

    And what happens if the bucs win 4 of there first 5 games? The fans will buy tickets

  9. FlBoy84 Says:

    I think that besides who the coach is and even if the team is winning, we might have to consider how the trust/faith factor of fans figures into the decision to buy tickets as well. The Glazers may very well go out this off-season and add a few key FA’s to compliment what I’m sure we all hope is a productive draft. If that occurs, you would have to assume a slight rise in the trust/faith factor would occur. At this point though, I think the majority of fans feel slighted/maybe taken advantage of by the Glazers and their seeming lack of commitment shown to team the past year or so.

    On a side note, did find an interesting comment by Vacation Man in his end of season review of the Bucs:

    “Biggest need: A defensive tackle. Yeah, there are needs just about everywhere, but this one is easily the biggest. Sad part is, it was the biggest need last offseason and, other than drafting Roy Miller in the third round, the Bucs didn’t address this. It was an obvious problem in the final month of Jon Gruden’s last season and the Bucs somehow decided Chris Hovan and Ryan Sims were the answer. They can’t think that this time around.” Didn’t agree with his idea that AB was the biggest disappointment, but I am with him on this one.

  10. Louie Says:

    I agree, the Bucs win and the fans will return. If they put a competitive team on the field, the fans will return. But fans won’t spend money and time to watch the kind of crap we saw this season. There are no tangible signs that they will start winning anytime soon. Sure they are going to have a bunch of draft picks this season, but how many of those picks will be contributors in year 1, a couple if you’re lucky? Free agents can provide immediate help, but the Glazerhouse’s won’t spend the money.

  11. Jake Says:

    Most fans such as myself love the Bucs and care about the team. However we get angry and negative when we perceive owners, who act as stewards for the team, not acting in the best interest of the team. Alot of negativity is not directed to the team or Raheem, but to the ownership who are not and have not acted in the best interest of the team. Anyone that thinks Man U doesnt factor in to this is just naive. Until they spend the money to compete the Bucs will continue to flounder.. Love the Bucs but nothing but contempt and disdain for the Glazers.

  12. Buuuccscsallday Says:

    Bucs need to trade for Micheal vick and let josh Freeman watch and learn till he’s ready jus like aaron rogers

  13. JK Says:

    Why bring Cowher into this? Mr. Glazerhouse will never fork over the money it would take to hire a man of his talents. He wants to call the shots and bring in his people. Those bastardos will never ever give that up.

  14. Travis Says:

    Buuuccscsallday I think it is to late for that.

  15. polkcountydude Says:

    All this crapping on the Glazers is absurd. Aren’t they the same owners that spent several years worth of draft picks to win a Super Bowl? That trade for Gruden and the resulting lack of high draft picks has killed the Bucs over the past 7 years. Those first and second rounders – assuming the front office drafted wisely, which is a big if – would be entering the primes of their careers. Teams don’t rebuild over night. STFU and be patient.

    Doesn’t anyone remember 15-20 years ago? The Bucs are in far better shape than they were under Culverhouse.

  16. Eric S Says:

    Polkcountrydude-The Glazers used to be good owners. Not anymore. The last few years they’ve made Culverhouse look like Daniel Snyder in their miserly ways. I am sorry but the fans deserve better and they are right to rake the Glazers over the coals. Heck we built this damn fricking stadium for the Glazers. The least they could do is put more money into the product instead of going cheap every year. Those lost draft picks are over and done with. I looked at where the Bucs could have picked in some of the slots and there really wasn’t that much lost. The Glazers probably did pay too much for Gruden, but we did win the Super Bowl that first season.

    Morris was a bad hire. He clearly wasn’t ready. I was expecting 6 wins out of this season. The Bucs got half of that. The Bucs were very lucky in the NO game. I wonder what would have happened if Cowher last season. I know we would have won more than 3 games. Morris has an easy schedule next season. If he doesn’t win at least 7-8 games, he should be shown the door.

    I hope the Glazers know that free agency is just as important as the draft. You cannot win without utilizing both. If the Bucs are going to primarily count on rookies making an impact next season, that will be a major mistake. I say go after Suh, get another S and WR in here, keep Bryant, get another RT, hope that Sears can return and get more depth on the DL and LB corps. I think the Bucs can make the playoffs next season if they make the right moves and Morris doesn’t screw things up.

  17. Pete Says:

    “The fans sitting around me won’t walk away from there seats because of a loosing season(s). They will leave them because they just can’t afford them.”

    Yep, can’t afford them is also part of the equasion. When the top row of the stadium costs $65 or $75 per ticket. x 10 games = $650- 750 per seat x 2 or 3 or 4 seats = $3000 before parking, food, gas etc…

    I can live with losing but back in the day when the prices were $18 per seat (pre-CITS) the day did not seem so costly.

  18. Jake Says:

    When talking about the Glazers you have to talk about them in one of two contexts: before Man U and After Man U. Before Man U they were good owners that cared about winning and spent to win. After Man U they are really bad owners that operate the franchise on a shoestring.

  19. Eric S Says:

    Bingo Jake.

  20. Slappy Says:

    Jake hit the nail on the head.