“This Is A Weird Town… “

September 9th, 2010

When Ronde Barber was a Bucs rookie in 1997, Bucs fans could find tickets to the season-opener on windshields of parked cars in shopping malls, or so the fairy tales go.

Now, Barber, perhaps in his final NFL season, begins in much the same way: Before many fans disguised as empty red seats at the CITS, notes eye-RAH! Kaufman of the Tampa Tribune.

Tampa Bay’s 35-year-old cornerback broke into the league in 1997, the last season the Buccaneers had a home game blacked out locally. Sunday’s season opener against the Cleveland Browns already has been declared a blackout by club officials and Bay area fans will instead see the Dolphins-Bills game on CBS at 1 p.m.
“I’ve come full circle,” Barber said Wednesday. “Weird isn’t it? This is a weird town in that regard. When I first got here, there weren’t a whole lot of people in the stands. In 1997, there was nobody here. The Rays are the second-best team in baseball and they can’t get 20,000 in the stands. It’s a deadly storm. The (economic) downturn coincided with our team downturning.”

Tampa Bay’s 35-year-old cornerback broke into the league in 1997, the last season the Buccaneers had a home game blacked out locally. Sunday’s season opener against the Cleveland Browns already has been declared a blackout by club officials and Bay area fans will instead see the Dolphins-Bills game on CBS at 1 p.m.

“I’ve come full circle,” Barber said Wednesday. “Weird isn’t it? This is a weird town in that regard. When I first got here, there weren’t a whole lot of people in the stands. In 1997, there was nobody here. The Rays are the second-best team in baseball and they can’t get 20,000 in the stands. It’s a deadly storm. The (economic) downturn coincided with our team downturning.”

Deadly storm for the Bucs but pathetic for the Rays. Long ago Joe grew weary of the excuses and whining people invent for not going to Rays games.

As long-time Tampa Bay radio personality, sportsaholic and hardcore Rays supporter Tedd Webb said recently of the miserable Rays attendance, “this just isn’t a major league market.”

38 Responses to ““This Is A Weird Town… “”

  1. justin f Says:

    this is a football town and thats why there was thousands of people on the waiting list but after 7 straight years of the glazers not spending any money at all on the bucs the fans of tampa are saying why should we spend money when the owners dont

  2. Lakeland Bob Says:

    Imagine what the Rays attendance would be if they were still rebuilding and losing.Ted is right,this is not a baseball town.If the Bucs don’t turn things around soon it might not be a football town.

  3. Capt.Tim Says:

    Like the old saying- use it or lose it! Support your teams, or they will be somebody else’s team pretty quick.

  4. bucfanjeff Says:

    There just isn’t enough market to support multiple major sports franchises. Lightning, Rays, Bucs – in a small market and bad economy. The NFL should all reduce ticket prices by 20-25%. They will still make money. NHL, MLB and NBA should follow along. Reduce prices to fill the seats, yet still make money. Concessions go up, parking goes up, apparel sales go up. The owners as a whole, are about how much they can make, and while I understand, how about giving us a break for a year or two? It takes more than a winning product for a lot of people these days.

  5. Matt Says:

    This is a football town? HA!

    Football towns sell out no matter how their team is doing.

    This is not a football town.

    This is either a fair-weather town or an uninterested town.

    Or maybe, just MAYBE, the type of people that tend to live here (retirees, those who care about sun and sand) don’t tend to care about sports as much as other cities.

  6. Matt Says:

    Tampa Bay is NOT a small market. Please stop using that excuse.

  7. Bucked up Says:

    The Glazers ticket prices are simply way too high considering the product they put out there the last few years and they are obviously ignoring the local economic conditions.
    I had a few friends that wanted to buy tickets, but they decided to wait until game time since the seats they found on Ticketmaster were 110 each for mid 300 level. Far cry from 35 as advertised.
    They simply cant afford the luxury.
    They are going to cruise the lots looking for tickets stuck to windshields during the first quarter. lol.
    The blackout rule is going to kill the fair weather fan base that is Tampa Bay, especially if they start out with a few losses.
    More bad business decisions from the man u braintrust.

  8. Lakeland Bob Says:

    bucfanjeff-your solutions makes a lot of sense.At least until the economy improves and your team becomes competitive again.But with all the negativity surroumding this team they could reduce prices by 50% and probably still not sell out.I know I will be there Sunday,the prospect of an opening day black out is unacceptable to me.

  9. oar Says:

    Matt, Maybe its all the northerners(not all are retired!) that have moved here and like thier hometown teams more? Or maybe we just need more people/population(not sure see, former question) in the area or Joe’s tour bus to be out of commission to get that stadium soldout! Not sure how we soldout for 12+ plus years? Hmm, sure makes you wonder???

  10. lightningbuc Says:

    I agree with Oar. This area is made up of goobers who for whatever reason left the crap hole up north where they grew up yet still root for those teams because it’s “in their blood”. Gimme a break. I moved here 14 years ago from the Midwest. I immediately dumped my allegiance to the Chiefs and Royals because I wanted to support the community I lived in, not where I used to live. It makes me sick to have all these people living here but rooting against us. I have gotten in numerous verbal spats with people at the games when I find out they live here but root for a team up north. If where you came from is so damn special, move back!

  11. james from dunedin Says:

    The Glazes have been burning the season ticket holders for years. Raise prices every year and not spending money on the team will piss off your fan base. Just start winning again and maybe some of us will come back.

  12. eric Says:

    Hire the chin – spend some money on players – problem solved.

    Keep up current fiasco and try and BS everyone, problem gets worse.

  13. eric Says:

    Didn’t the bucs make the playoffs in 97, i recall going to the lions game. Had to be a lot of sell outs that season. Then, the voters put up a new stadium for the team. And it was pretty much sold out every game until when????????????

    When Rah took over?

    Of course, that’s purely coincidental.


  14. bucfanjeff Says:

    “Tampa Bay is NOT a small market. Please stop using that excuse.”
    ‘Tampa Bay’ – No, ‘Tampa’ – yes. I believe in terms of sports, Tampa is considered a small market.
    NY, LA, Dallas, etc = large market
    Tampa, Jax, ATL, Carolina, etc = small market
    Doesn’t the NFL have pool sharing so the ‘smaller’ markets can be more balanced in finances? (It may have been ended by this uncapped year – not sure.) The Bucs are considered a small market team, or more correctly put, Tampa is a small market sports area. Sorry dude.

  15. Gary Says:


    its goes the other way too. I grew up in orlando, but now live in DC. So am I supposed to stop rooting for the Bucs and pick the skins as my new team? hell no, thats not happening. I cant stand the skins. Dont fault people for being loyal.

  16. Jdouble Says:

    I’m pretty sure nobody goes to the Rays games because baseball is a boring game for retards. I could be wrong, but that’s what my sources are tellin me.

  17. Bucnjim Says:

    The problem with sports in Tampa is pretty simple. NO ONE is from Tampa! I moved from N.Y. years ago and dumped the NY Giants a few years after arriving. The thing is that most people do not change teams and continue to follow their home teams. If the Bucs are doing well then they want to be part of that action. If they’re not they continue to follow their origional alliance. You can’t compare the Packers, Bears, Giants or any long standing team to the Bucs. The best comparison would be the Chargers! They’ve made the playoffs almost every year, but still struggle to fill their stadium every year. Why? Because no one is from San Diego either!

  18. passthebuc Says:

    strictly a function of dollars. over the last ten years, and thats what we are speaking about, the salaries have gone up significantly. likewise the cost of going to a game, not just the tickets, but the total experience has become a problem for many a sports fan.

  19. ZeroExpectations Says:

    The Tampa Bay area is the 14th largest television market in the US. Seattle just jumped ahead.

    Orlando area is also in the top twenty.

    Go to Neilson’s website and search for market size.

    The Tampa Bay area is not small by no means.

    As for the Rays? They built the stadium in St. Petersburg for Petes sake.

    The baseball stadium shoud be built next to the Hard Rock Casino, at the intersection of I-75 and I-4. Try to lure in the Orlando market too.

  20. Tye Says:

    I think the lack of Respect and honor for the HC position by the owners and front office play a MAJOR part in this teams woes……. I have seen in the past where bad teams grow in fan base and attendance not from winning but from the expectation to win or at least put up a good fight proving that they are justified in believeing in the very near furure of that team………

    By choosing basically a guy off the street to HC and run this team has stripped people of winning expectation and even respect for this team and last seasons performance just solidifies to most people their opinion of it being a HORRIFIC and destructive decision……That is the problem the way I understand it from most fan sites!

  21. Matt Says:

    @oar Sorry, you’re right, forgot about transplants.

    @bucfanjeff Sorry, we just can’t be considered small market in my mind. According to Wikipedia, we’re the 19th largest in the U.S. Ahead of Baltimore, Denver, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Kansas City, Charlotte, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, New Orleans, and Buffalo.

    By my count we’re just about smack dab in the middle.

    The reasons we’re not selling out are:
    (1) Still not a large enough established fan base (remember, the Bucs still are the, what, 5th youngest team in the NFL?). In other words, your grandpa (or father, even) didn’t grow up loving the Bucs.
    (2) Large population of fans who either don’t care about sports or already have a favorite team from their original city.
    (3) We’re not winning, so there aren’t 20k-30k of bandwagon fans in the stands.
    (4) The economy.
    (5) Negative perception of the Glazers (i.e. cheap).

    The order may be fluid, but I contend that the often overlooked first two are as much to blame as the often mentioned last three.

  22. MVPFreeman Says:

    ….a wierd town indeed, but i still love it….

  23. SkookumSmitty Says:

    When the Bucs win, they sell out. I am old enough to remember the 70s and 80s Bucs…And the argument that fans of other teams live here is as old as the team…Not a new concept.

  24. JimBuc Says:

    I love that we had many in the media saying that the Rays would sellout if they started winning. What happened?

  25. ZeroExpectations Says:

    The Rays are in St Petersburg. Even the ownership has the proof that St Pete is a bad location.

    The Rays should move near the intersection of I-4 and I-75 I’m telling you. It would get people from Lakeland and Orlando as well as keeping the Bradenton fans (bout equi distant).

  26. Capt.Tim Says:

    Great, they just announced the Bucs game will be blacked out on BSPN. We were the only blackout they mentioned. Now we have those idiots laughing at us. This is a sad day for The Tampa Bay area. It’s really embarrassing! Hope the haters are happy. This makes Tampa look second class. Can’t even sellout on opening weekend. !

  27. Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    This is NOT a “Football Town”, it is a town full of finicky, trendy people, who will fly their stupid looking Bucs Flags when we win, yet bail out when we are rebuilding. In my business, I talk to 10 or more people a day, few even care about the Bucs. The Football fans I do talk to are still supporting their teams from back home, though many have lived here in Tampa, for years! I “got into it with a customer from Cleveland last week who lives up in Tampa Palms. He is a Dog Pound guy, like all Cleveland fans call themselves. It was enjoyable, he loved his team, I love the Bucs! I find very FEW people I come into contact with (except here) even care about Tampa Football.

  28. ZeroExpectations Says:

    They stopped caring because of the Glazer’s move to hire Raheem the Dream.

  29. The D Says:

    People stopped caring because we have no big names. Multiple people have told me that if Brooks, Dunn, Galloway, etc were still here they would support the Bucs more. Even if we suck. As long as there are fan favorites people would go, but since were an up and coming team, no one cares.

  30. ZeroExpectations Says:

    Raheem Morris is the cause.

  31. BucRayJ Says:

    This is embarrassing as a Tampa sports fan. Hearing on of the town’s most heralded athletes even have to say that is brutal. One excuse is as good as the next, the peaks and valleys are to be expected, last time I checked no team has had a 10 year dynasty. Tampa fans need to take things like this personally and if we want them to show up on Sundays, I think we should too.

  32. Capt.Tim Says:

    We are the ONLY team in the NFL getting blacked out this weekend. Say any excuses you want, but what it says about this area, is that the perceptions are right. This is a retiree driving area, and pro sports aren’t important to the community. It says we don’t have enough team loyalty to support our team during a normal rebuilding phase. Between the horrible Rays and Lighning attendance, and now the Bucs, it says we are a minor league town. No matter how large the Tampa market really is. This is a large market,but this town hasn’t supported any of it’s pro team this year, and the Rays and Lighning ever. It’s really sad! The Los Angeles Buccaneers! It could happen.

  33. oar Says:

    CaptTim, “It says we don’t have enough team loyalty to support our team during a normal rebuilding phase.” Really? What about the Dungy re-building phase? Didn’t we SELLOUT the stadium then and with a WAITING LIST? Whats the difference between now and then? Too tired to make that list, so I’ll let you ponder it!
    Apple, I ask you the same/similar. Did all the fans that helped sellout before dissappear? What about that WAITING LIST crowd, did they dissapear too? Maybe they were abducted by aliens?

  34. McBuc Says:

    Oar…The Dungy rebuild was different. We went through a huge time of loseing. Dungy did not sell out his first year, but he had such a strong ending in that year people jumped on board. If the Bucs start to win and show that they are moving in the right direction people will return. This area is not like Cleveland, where even when they lose the “dog puund” still goes nuts. I have a friend that lives in Cloumbas but has season tickets for the Brown’s, that is a hell of a drive 8 Sundays a year. My son’s generation may be loyal like that, since he know the Bucs his entire life, and I am a huge Bucs fan. My dad supported the Bucs as the home team, but he still routed for the Bears (except when playing the Bucs), and this is ok. When the Bucs start to win, they will start filling seats.

  35. McBuc Says:

    And those people that claim they would still support the Bucs if Galloway, Dunn, and Brooks were still here are full of it. They are the same people ripping on Barber for being slow and old. We would still be losing with those great old players, and the seats would still be empty.

  36. oar Says:

    McBuc, I realize that the only difference in Dungy’s re-building is the long losing period prior, but my point(same as yours) is the product on the field is what brings them in. Otherwise, we would not have soldout, ever. According to some on here, we dont have the fan base or the population to sellout? Really?

  37. McBuc Says:

    OAR…we are in agreement. Winning will sell the seats.

  38. Patrick Says:

    Tampa Bay is a small market???

    Hell, look at New Orleans! That’s what you call a small market! And look at how they’re doing with the Saints! The Rays are pretty much just like the Saints….the best team in their league. They should be selling more tickets.

    I know this won’t happen, but it would be a tragedy of the Rays somehow left Tampa. They’ve got such a great baseball team and I don’t understand how people can’t go to the games! Many people are just to lazy to drive the stadium. How pathetic. They’re one of the best teams in baseball with everything going for them and that’s what happens.

    I realize how bad the economy is in Tampa and the rest of Florida, but look at other bad markets such as the New York City area. The Jets and Giants appear to be doing ok. And while Tampa may be among the worst economies in the country, the economy is bad everywhere!