New Free Agents Won’t Equal Sellouts

March 19th, 2012

So many times and so often Joe has read about fans claiming if Team Glazer channeled Danny Snyder and started cutting checks right and left, said fans would return to the stadium on Dale Mabry Highway.

Color Joe skeptical.

Now will the signing of wide receiver Vincent Jackson, guard Carl Nicks and cornerback Eric Wright bump up ticket sales? Joe’s pretty sure, yes.

Does that mean there will be a season full of sellouts this season, Joe will bet no.

This same subject was tackled by dapper Rick Brown of the Lakeland Ledger.

Ever since the purge and coaching change, fans have been slow to come back to Raymond James.

The team has had blackouts in 13 of the past 15 regular-season games. That means the stadium hasn’t officially been sold out and the team hasn’t been shown on local TV.

It probably should have been more games as the Glazers brought tickets to prevent blackouts in Raheem Morris’ first year. When the club went 3-13, the Glazers said enough.

There have been many changes since Chucky was last coaching along the Bucs sidelines that, in part, keep fans away from Bucs home games.

There is HDTV at home. It many ways, it’s a better way to watch games than at the game, though there’s no way of duplicating a stadium atmosphere. And of course, you can relax while watching a game at home, not having to stand up the whole game because a couple of louts in front of you are of the mind the Bucs cannot win unless they are “into it.”

But the most important part about what has not changed since Chucky was jettisoned is people’s homes in Florida are underwater or on the verge of foreclosure.

People simply don’t have the expendable income as they did 10 years ago. Denying this simple fact is like burying one’s head in the sand at Treasure Island.

When it comes down to putting grub on the table or making car payments or house payments, Bucs games take a back seat to such priorities.

Until the housing market rebounds, until the local economy rebounds, Joe doesn’t expect a season full of sellouts like the Bucs enjoyed for so many years at the end of the last century, or the first few seasons of this century.

27 Responses to “New Free Agents Won’t Equal Sellouts”

  1. Bucnjim Says:

    This is a league wide problem for more teams than you would think. So many teams last year claimed sell outs when at least half their stadiums were empty. If you watched any of the Bucs/Titans game in Tennessee; you would have to wonder if there were 30,000 people there. I know corporations step up and buy the seats, but people are not showing up to watch the games live.

  2. jvato24 Says:

    We may not sell out but it will be quite a bit fuller in the stadium


    preach it Joe.

  4. T in Orlando Says:

    I think sellouts will come when the team starts racking up the Ws.

    The recent spending spree will result in a bump in ticket sales, but no where near the 20k to 30k a game needed to consistently sell the games out.

    I think what this does do, is that SOME of the fans who believe the Glazers are cheap, and are of the mindset “why should I spend my money on the team, when the doesn’t spend the money on itself” will come back (there are others that will never be happy).

    While I won’t be buying season tickets, I will try to get to at least one game this year, and I’m a little more inclined to purchase some Bucs gear this year (which was not the case the last two years) and I think many fans feel similarly. This again does not immediately mean more sellouts, but we’re definitely a lot closer to getting there (if we start 4-2 again this year, I can almost guarantee 2 or 3 sellouts after that point).

  5. flmike Says:

    It’s absolutely the economy, look at teams in cities where the real estate economy has taken the biggest hits, San Diego, Tenn, Miami, Tampa, Jax, SF, Oak, Az, except for Tenn, Cali, Az and Florida took the worst real estate hits and look at their teams, San Diego a perennial playoff team can’t fill their stadium, Oak most rabid fans in the league they had trouble selling tix, same with SF, Az, Jax, Maim, and Tampa and all have the same underlying real estate issues.

  6. Patrick Says:

    The free agents are definitely going to help

  7. Pewterpirate Says:

    The real fans know signing those 3 guys is just not enough. There are plenty of FA still out there and we have ALOT of holes. The Bucs also front loaded those contracts so they can say they are close to the cap ceiling. I do like the signings, I just need to see more, the draft will not fill holes at RB,TE,RT,LB,S,CB.

  8. Big Rob Says:

    Thanks for bringing this up Joe. So many people think it’s just people being cheap and/or uninterested in the Bucs. I read somewhere last year that of the 100 worst economic recoveries by community, the Tampa Bay area was the third worst. The Coral Springs area was the worst. Southwest Florida has been hammered hard. If I could afford it I would, but the fact of the matter is I just can’t.

  9. OB Says:

    Joe, you have part of the reason, in my opinion, when I went to the Atlanta game this past season, I found that the type and volumne of the music blaring between each play was toxic, almost the same commercials being played with the music between each play, and most importantly, not one penalty or challenged play was shown on instant replay at the stadium. I had club level seats with parking so it was a dream getting there, but too much when I got there. The replays they did show did not have the wisdom of a John Lynch or other person to show you what went right or wrong. It was a gorgeous day and I enjoyed the company I was with to comment on the game. What made it great, is that we won, one of the few and we had hope.

  10. jLM Says:

    If the Bucs were a 12-4 team or 11-5 team on a consistent bases the economy wouldn’t hold folks back, they would find a way to get there. Fans will be curios this year, just watch the first few home games. A little excitement can go a long way.

  11. Patrick Says:

    Fort Myers/Cape Coral area is pretty bad right now. Half my friends there have moved away or want to move away.

  12. Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    I think the economy is starting to recover here in the Tampa area. My company is a lot busier then we were last year.
    If Tampa has a winning team, people will support them.

  13. eric Says:

    I think the area wil embrace coach Schiano, based on what I have seen so far.

    Many bucs fan, including this one, were in a severe state of depression watching Raheem Morris run out of the tunnel – which only worsened after kick off.

    The Chucky/Raheem bait and switch, the heinous jettisoning of 55 and others, the horrific product on the field, and the “Culverhouseesq” spending all contributed to folks finding other things to do with their time.

    This off season is a good start to mending the fences. Plenty of good bucs fans who can afford games out there – look at the Lightning.

    Give us a reason to believe and the blackout tour will be out of business quickly.

  14. Big Picture Guy Says:

    I think the point that the home experience is better than the live experience is the best one, but all valid.

    Why pay $8 for a beer, when u can buy a 6 pack for the same price at the corner store?

    Why get heat exhaustion and a sun-burn when the stadium runs out of water, and u can kick back on your couch, rather than crammed into a 12″x12″ piece of plastic with no leg room?

    Why sit through tv-timeouts twiddling your thumbs when u can multitask at home during commercials? Or DVR the game and fast forward through them completely!

    Why sit through obnoxious ‘aints fans who over intoxicate themselves regularly and yell the whole time like they own the place once a year?

    Replay and commentary points already made are fantastic as well. Penalty replays cant be shown by rule in the stadium. Instant replays when it could give an advantage to the other team to challenge, usually aren’t shown as well.

    Lines 5 people deep at the bathrooms which are rarely clean by the 3rd quarter, lines 16 people deep for food at halftime that take beyond the half to get through for food that I wouldn’t pay $10 for anywhere else.

    People don’t go to games, because the Glazers have done NOTHING to improve the fan experience. Its why the Lightning consistently sell out. Its why the Rays have improved ticket sales in spite of all the other factors out of their control working against them.

    The Glazers have treated their fans too long like cash-cows, and this community finally got wise to the scheme. Finally investing in the on-field product alone, is not enough. It’s a start, but its not cause enough for people to spend at least a Grand on 2 seats of season tickets, when we can treat ourselves way better for free.

  15. brady Says:

    Joe… addition to the housing/economic crisis, we need to take a look at what the Glazers did back in 2008. After a pitiful season they gave a real shock to the fans…A 33% RISE IN MOST TICKET PRICES! The loss of season ticket holders due to that alone was approx. 30,000 in one fell swoop! Additionally, they managed to legally (?) keep the remaining 50% of our seat deposit money! I am a Buc fan through and through but this has left such a sour taste in me, and thousands of others as well, that I haven’t been to a game since. Ownership needs to extend some sort of olive branch to these loyal fans who so strongly supported them in the early years of their regime. They lost the real Buc fans….the Joe Six Pack devoted fan base that made the game day experience one of the NFL’s best.

  16. Bobby Says:

    Comparing selling Raymond James out to selling out the Trop or the Forum is pretty lame. It’s the economy stupid! Football ticket prices are ridiculously high and the average person just can’t afford the price of taking the family when you factor in ticket cost, food, parking, etc. I agree that it will improve when the economy improves but to say if we go 12-4 it will sell out is just BS. It didn’t sell out when we went 10-6 in 2010 so suddenly if we win 2 more games it’s the trigger point for ticket sales??

  17. Nick Says:

    FA’s wont equal sellouts?!?!? What!, Thomas said he was gonna buy all the remaining tickets!

  18. Jrock Says:

    The economy is a big chunk of the equation here, but it’s not the full picture. I “splurge” on entertainment on a weekly basis, be it a concert, festival, or a 12pack and friends. Last year I could have gone to one game at least, but there was NO reason to.

    This season, it’s looking more and more like I’m going to go to a home division game because I think we’re going to be exciting and competitive. I can’t afford season tickets, but I can afford one game. Scratch that, I WILL afford one game 🙂

  19. james in dunedin Says:

    Until the Bucs start to make consecutive playoff appearances the stadium will not sell out. When the Bucs star winning again the fans will come back, simple as that…

  20. Big Picture Guy Says:

    Bobby, how is that a lame comparison? No matter what it is expendable income that people are choosing to spend. These other venues provide way better experience to their fans for a lessor price. Economics, my friend, would say that is a better quality product.

  21. Bobby Says:

    I’m just talking sheer numbers. It takes an enormous amount of revenue to sell out Raymond James and you are right, it takes less to sell out the Trop or the Forum. That’s my point. It’s apples and oranges. The Bucs have to make their money in 8 home games, the Rays and the Lightning can spread the pain out over time since they have a lot more home games. Football will never be as cheap as baseball or hockey.

  22. RustyRhino Says:

    @Big Picture Guy “Why sit through obnoxious ‘aints fans who over intoxicate themselves regularly and yell the whole time like they own the place once a year?”

    I have watched the Bucs play in Charlotte, & Atlanta & in Tampa. I have seen and been a obnoxious Bucs fan doing the same thing in those other stadiums as well. Nothing like hearing TAAAMMMPPPAAA BAAAAY! drown out the other teams fans, or be humbled by the other teams fans drowning out your small voices. They have fans and we have fans. Are we all intoxicated and rude, not all but some sure, but this is football. Go to any SEC or other big college conference games this is a part of football. Cheering for your team! Just like at Lightning games or Marlins games (not a rays fan) 🙂

    As for your other comments about food prices, beer prices, lines, & cleanliness of bathrooms etc. it happens in EVERY stadium. These stadiums are cash cows for every home team. I enjoyed my times spent watching my team play, be that at games away in hostile stadiums, in our beautiful stadium, in the old sombrero stadium, where bucs fans where regularly the minority in the stadium.

    You are correct when you say that we can have just as good or better & cheaper time watching the game at home. I have a 55″ TV and it don’t get much better than that view. Fridge is 20′ away and full of Yuengling Light, my restroom is 30′ away clean and no line, I have food available and a leather couch to sit on. But going to the stadium and the pregame parking-lot festivities has a certain appeal to me. Do I have the $1000 for two season tickets, unfortunately no. But I will go to the game here in Atlanta, and try to go to another game in Charlotte, and try my best to get back to the Tampa stadium to see a game this season.

    The owners are owners because they pay the bills for the teams payroll, travel, insurance, training, promotion, etc. what and how they do that is their choice. You said that the Buccaneer stadium is not a good fan experience, how so would you improve it?
    We have a awesome ship and port in the stadium, the stadium is clean at the start of the games. Not being clean by the third quarter, has little to do with the owners. Sadly that falls to the people who go to these events and have little respect for squaring their sh!t away themselves. By picking up after themselves flushing the toilets, hitting the toilet, and putting their garbage in those useful things called garbage cans. It happens in every stadium don’t fool yourself thinking it ONLY happens at the Tampa Stadium.

    I like the new staff we have in place, I think we have adjusted our heading as a franchise. If we look at the other team that our owners own, we will see that they do have a plan for that team, with certain people in place to keep it running smoothly. With the “advisers” we now have with the Bucs we also are looking toward the future as a franchise, and trying to set it up to be running smoothly. I am excited about our team as I always try to be.

    GO BUCS!!!

  23. Pete Dutcher Says:

    Joe…I got spammed again. No html either. Could you please move me into public eye? Thanks 🙂

  24. Big Picture Guy Says:

    Rhino, but that’s my point, is that this stuff is everywhere. And its a league-wide problem, and why league-wide attendance is low

  25. eric Says:

    Trade for Tebow!

    Fill the stadium for sure!

  26. RustyRhino Says:

    @ eric LOL
    @ Big Picture Guy Yeah everyone is full of the ME attitude. something has to give….

  27. patrickbucs Says:

    Everyone has valid opinions as to why they do, don’t or won’t sell out. As people have mentioned many times before if you have the NFL ticket it’s just not a local problem it’s in dozens of cities across the country including the Redskins. The difference is most of those cities owners and/or sponsors are buying up the rest of the tickets to air it the Glazers haven’t lately.

    I wanted to see what was going to happen with free agency before I renewed my season tickets for the 13th or 14th year (since Raymond James opened). I have been pleasently surprised to say the least. I was able to go and improve my 2 seats a bit as well in person today.