Bucs Need Orlando Fans

May 7th, 2011

Joe puts on his businessman jersey every week and scours the local and national business publications. Hey, Joe needs to know what’s going on out there.

Joe sees economic data improving, but also sees the Tampa Bay area lagging behind. However, Orlando appears to be kicking Tampa Bay’s ass when it comes to growth, so reported Robert Trigeaux, the St. Pete Times business columnist.

… Orlando is cultivating businesses faster and smarter than Florida’s other metro areas. Consider this recent Reuters story:

“Orlando is leading Florida out of recession and expanding so briskly the city best known for theme parks is poised to push aside Miami as the state’s fastest growing metropolis for at least a generation.”

Orlando alone generated 23,000 jobs in the year ending in February of the 50,000 jobs created in Florida.

That story and others cite a ranking of the nation’s major metro areas based on “economic strength.” The 2010 rankings were produced by William Fruth of the Policom Corp. research firm in Palm City. His numbers show Orlando ranked No. 1 in Florida and 27th among 366 metro areas nationwide.

By contrast, Tampa Bay ranked behind not only Orlando, but also Miami-Fort Lauderdale and Jacksonville in this state.

That all stinks, but what stinks even more for the Bucs is awareness of the team falling off the map in Orlando.

The Orlando Sentinel eliminated much of its Bucs coverage over the past two years. The newspaper and its website no longer have a Bucs beat writer despite being a mere 90 minutes from Tampa. Good luck even finding a Bucs link on the Sports page of their site.  And their columnists all but ignored the Bucs last year. Orlando’s heinous local sports radio is disinterested in the Bucs, as well.

It’s surely comes from a combination of the Bucs pulling out of Disney for training camp in 2009, newspaper budget slashing, and the lingering stain of the 3-13 season.

Throw in Bucs home games getting blacked out in Orlando, and the Bucs are barely registering a blip on the radar in a growing market where they should be selling loads of tickets and growing lifelong customers.

Joe has no idea how Team Glazer might be addressing this issue, but Joe thinks it’s imperative. Joe would be pleased to meet with Team Glazer to offer real-world solutions to the Orlando market.

17 Responses to “Bucs Need Orlando Fans”

  1. Mr. Lucky Says:

    Why would Orlando care?

    The Predators beat the Storm last night and are tied for 2nd in the Southern division.

    When it comes to the NFL the people of Orlando can see Jags games on Sundays as well as Fins games too! Blackout the Bucs – who cares.

    Orlando may only be 90 minutes away but it’s like comparing St. Petersburg and Tampa – very very different

  2. doubles Says:

    I’m an orlando-dwelling Bucs fan and I couldn’t agree more.

    The Predators are fun, but that can’t supplant having an local NFL team to cheer for. The Jags only get some press here because there’s a lot of college transplants from that area, but as you imagine NCAA is bigger for them.

    The saddest paart is having games blacked out. With no press coverage and no radio access it’s like they don’t exist at all.

    The Bucs should be central Florida’s team just like Miami is south Florida’s and Jacksonville is north Florida’s. Great point, Joe, I’m glad to hear it!


    The housing market in Orlando is worse than it is in the Bay area. Good luck trying to get those people to drive an hour+ to attend a Bucs game.

    Come on, Joe, I know you saw the 60 minutes piece on the 5,000 homeless children living in motels around Disney a couple months ago.

  4. gitarlvr Says:

    Yeah its hard enough getting the transplants and bandwaggoners right in the bay area to care. Good luck keeping the interest of the transplants and bandwaggoners an hour and a half away. The fact is the only real interest the people of the city of Orlando had in the Bucs was in STEALING THE TEAM FROM US!!!

  5. Pete I Says:

    Orlando is an odd city, even for Florida. Frankly all the Tampa teams should play a home game or two in Orlando. And the Magic should play a game or two in Tampa.

    I would rather have a Bucs home game in Orlando every year than every 2 years in London.

    Tampa could invite the UCF marching band to play a halftime of the Bucs game. The Bucs could have a free parking or food deal for Orlando “zians” to attend a certain game every year.

    All sorts of ways Tampa could cultivate Orlando’s market. But ending the blackouts would be a great help.

  6. Gary Says:

    I grew up in Orlando and have loved the Bucs and Magic since I was a little kid. I live in DC now but always hated the fact that Jags games were shown instead of the Bucs. The Bucs should be Orlando’s NFL team and its pathetic the sentinel doesnt cover them.

    I wish I still lived there, I would be going to a few games for sure. Thinking about coming down there for week1.

  7. Patrick Says:


    What the Bucs could do is still have the main/majority part of their camp in Tampa and hold another couple of days of their camp in Orlando. How long is training camp….2 weeks or so? They can spend 1.5 weeks in Tampa then maybe just about 3 or 4 days in Orlando?

    That’s what the Dallas Cowboys do. They hold their training camp in two cities. Here in San Antonio where I live, and then they spend about a week in Oxnard, California. It’s all about getting a bigger fanbase.

  8. Jimmy Delach Says:

    I guess once the Bucs’ new training facility opened up and they stopped using the Wide World Of Sports Complex (2002-’08, the entire Gruden era), I guess the fan base decided to shrink down there. 3-13 in 2009 combined with home blackouts in 2010 and there doesn’t look to be much interest out there.

    Interesting when the Steelers game was blacked out, Hal Bodeker (TV writer for the Orlando Sentinel) wrote on his blog to inform Orlando viewers about the blackout (believe he did the same thing in 2009 when the Dolphins game in Jacksonville was blacked out too).

    From what I gather, the Miami Dolphins appear to be the most popular team in Orlando despite the fact Orlando is claimed as a secondary market to the Bucs and Jaguars. They are forced to show all road games (moreso the CBS affiliate in the case of the Jags when there is a Dolphins conflict that is out of their hands) and they can not televise blacked-out home games.

    If I am the Bucs, I would go out to Orlando and try to market more in that area. That’s my $.02.

  9. Scott Says:

    Don’t forget radio coverage. Maybe it doesn’t affect Orlando but here on the east coast the Bucs are no longer on radio. Why? Culverhouse made the radio feed available free, the Glazers charge for it, so all the little AM stations that used to carry them dropped it.

  10. TrueBlue Says:

    I agree. Better marketing and stop the blackouts. Orlando is a market the Bucs should be cultivating. When the league dumped Orlando area into the Jags market I was incensed. I’m a Buc fan forever.

  11. Thomas 2.2 Says:

    Orlando bailed along with 40% of the local fan base when gruden was fired, the no experience kids were brought in, the roster was cheapened, they started 0-7 and then try to argue that this was a plannef rebuild.

    All after in training camp arguing that they were intending to make the playoffs.

  12. espo Says:

    Orlando has too much of an international population for any large group to feel loyal towards a Florida team.

    Tampa has too much of a Dbag Northern population for any large group to feel loyal towards a local team until we’re champions and the bandwagon will let anyone on.

  13. WeGotDefense :-) Says:

    You can always watch the game on the Internet.

  14. BucForce Says:

    I lived in the Orlando area from 1982-1991 and Orlando was very jealous of Tampa at the time. Bucs home games were not on TV there, but we got to see every Dolphins’ game. Sounds like nothing has changed in the past 20 years.

  15. HFXBUC Says:

    When looking at new fan bases what about an area like The Villages? 70k people, and growing, all with disposable income only 60minutes north of Tampa. There are some big transplanted football fans in that town who could be converted to bucs fans…

  16. Jimmy Delach Says:

    I actually read one instance back in 1991 when a Bucs’ home game against the then-Super Bowl champion New York Giants sold out at the deadline (WTVT bought the remaining tickets to ensure sellout). WKMG (CBS affiliate in Orlando) decided not to air the Bucs game in favor of the Cowboys-Redskins game that they were planning to show anyway.

    Also remember back in 1997 WESH (NBC affiliate) planned to air the Tennessee-Jacksonville game instead of the sold-out-well-in-advance Patriots-Bucs game (When the Bucs were becoming respectable). Viewer response made WESH switch. Eventually after that, the Bucs would be shown in Orlando almost all the time (FOX certainly, CBS depends on conflicts with other state teams).

    BTW I was in Orlando the day of the home game with the Falcons last year and I found an FM affiliate (can’t remember exact station but I think it plays classic rock) that aired the game. It was really cool that we got to listen to the John McKay Ring of Honor induction ceremony.

  17. Scott Says:

    Back when Green Bay split games between Milwaukee and Green Bay Culverhouse floated the idea of playing a couple of regular season games in the Citrus Bowl. The idea wasn’t too well received since at the time the Bucs were awful and I think it was seen as Culverhouse trying to sell tickets without resorting to spending money on players.