Bucs Blackout Decision Could Be Costly

July 17th, 2012

It seemed as though Bucs fans in unison cheered last week when Team Glazer decided to take advantage of the NFL’s new blackout policy to lift blackouts of local televised home games if a team sells enough tickets to fill 85 percent of non-luxury seats.

The Bucs were the lone team in the NFL to utilize this new rule. Stephen Holder of the Tampa Bay Times writes that this decision will cost Team Glazer a pretty penny.

There are financial implications here that haven’t been taken into consideration by fans. Because the Bucs agreed to this, they have to share 50 percent of revenue from tickets beyond the 85 percent mark with the visiting team. That caveat was added to influence teams not to set too low of a threshold because it would be financially punitive.

For teams that are generally close to sellouts most weeks, it might be more cost-effective to simply “buy up” remaining tickets at the reduced cost of 34 cents on the dollar, declare a sellout and get the game on local TV.

That’s something we’re still likely to see elsewhere in the league. But for the Bucs, who in 13 of their past 15 home games have been well short of sellouts, that option had become rather expensive.

Joe has written again and again that the reason the Bucs haven’t been drawing fans is a combination of the rotten Florida economy, and that watching games at home on TV is often more pleasurable and certainly more economical.

So this is a very interesting move in Joe’s eyes by Team Glazer. Just like JoeSixPack is taking it for the state’s depression, so too, it appears, is Team Glazer, all in the name of helping fans watch the Bucs.

40 Responses to “Bucs Blackout Decision Could Be Costly”

  1. jb Says:

    Since the end of last season, it seems the Glazers have done just about everything they can to not only improve the team, but to make tickets as accessible as possible to the fans. Why are people still grousing about the tightwad Glazer family. What do people expect? The only thing left for them to do is slash ticket prices by 50%. Even with that I get the feeling people would still complain! We have the absolute worst fan base in the NFL…….How about another WAVE while we’re on offense? C’mon people…Quit your complaining and support your team!

  2. kaput Says:

    I have been as critical of the Glazers as anyone could possibly be, but it sure looks like they’ve turned the corner and are doing what’s right more times than not. This very skeptical fan is very, very pleased at the obvious new direction and looks forward to dropping a few bucks in support of their efforts to make the Bucs a more competitive team going forward.

    Kudos to the Glazers!!

  3. Eric Says:

    Sorry but the Glazers did not buy the team after last year. Prior to that they earned their tightwad reputation by doing things like refusing to sign free agents (fools gold), inserting Raheem as coach without interviewing anyone else, and have been at the absolute bottom of the league in payroll.

    Their actions are responsible for their reputation no one else’s, and certainly not the good fans of Tampa Bay. 8-16 at home last three years with no playoffs has not helped.

    They have had a very good offseason. It will take a very good regular season to win back the town.

  4. Chris FWC Says:

    “IF a team sells enough tickets to fill 85 percent of the stadium.”

    I don’t see that happening. Maybe 65-70%.

  5. kaput Says:

    Not sure what some of you guys want. They spent a great deal of money this off season on some good players, accepted the “85% rule” so that the local TV audience has a better chance at watching the home games, fired Morris and have demonstrably moved away – at least for now – the business practice of squeezing blood from pennies.

    Nobody is going to forget how cheap they’ve been, but at least acknowledge that they’ve done some good these past several months.

  6. Scotty in Fat Antonio Says:

    The problem with the Glazers is consistency. They will do this this year to get alot of fans in the seats and then next year, they will screw the same fans.

  7. Eric Says:

    Personally I like owners who try and win every year, not just when they are backed into a corner.

    They have stepped up this offseason. What will be much more impressive is the team stepping it up on the field.

  8. Bobby Says:

    If the Glazers have been cheap then you have to admit the fans have been cheaper. We went 10-6 in 2010 and didn’t sell out a game.

  9. Fritz50 Says:

    “Because the Bucs agreed to this, they have to share 50 percent of revenue from tickets beyond the 85 percent mark with the visiting team”

    I kind’a have a small problem with the accuracy of the quote above. The actual cost to the Glazers is 15% of the revenue, since they owed 35% before they made this choice. I applaud them for making that choice & accepting that cost, but it’s not as expensive as the writer makes it out to be. Besides! If it gets buts in those seats, they’re gaining 50% of the revenue from seats that prolly wouldn’t have had people in them, & that’s good for bidness.

  10. SeminoleSam Says:

    Right on the money Bobby.

  11. SeminoleSam Says:

    @Fritz – Bills fans and media are in uproar because the team wouldn’t go for the balckout rule. Estimates up there said it would have cost the Bills no more than 500K for the season. Should be about the same here if the Bucs sell out, which they won’t.

  12. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Says:

    I agree with JB, Tampa is the worst fan base in the NFL. You see people out wearing Buc’s shirts all the time, and when you stop them to talk football, most haven’t a clue.
    Oh, they “support” the team by flying the stupid looking flags on their cars, but God help us if we have a losing season or 2.

    The problem is also the economy, like Joe says, and this is Florida.
    Some just still haven’t realized they live here in the Tampa bay area now, not back in Boston or Chicago, or wherever they are from.

  13. NunPuncher Says:

    If attendance is an economic issue then why are a huge majority of the seats that are empty on the third level? Aren’t those the cheapest seats? The problem with the attendance is the same as The Rays. People would rather sit at home and root for the more fashionable teams…Packers, Giants, Steelers, and Eagles. After a couple years of the 85% attendance cap if the Buccaneers don’t win The Glazers are just going to asssume that the fanbase for this team just isn’t here.

  14. bucyea Says:

    What the F#$K kinda story is this? Complain, whine and bithc if the DO, complain, whine and bithc if they DONT. Unfortunately, “Joe” has fallen into the trap of the local “media”, by playing both sides of the fence, just trying to stir something up…sad, but par for the course, in this market.

  15. admin Says:

    Joe here,

    @Bucyea – You’re reading between a lot of lines that aren’t in this story

  16. Dan Says:

    Look, at the end of the day the Glazers are smart business men. They pocketed millions for years, and there’s probably a lot of truth to them being overextended due to the purchase of Manchester United. The fan base eroded. This is a caculated business decision to reinvigorate the fan base. Yes we were 10-6 a couple of years ago, but that type of play didn’t appear sustainable. I mean, every week a “fresh off the practice squad” player was staring for us. So the Glazers went out spent some money, are spending a ton of money in advertising tickets for the new season and are doing this to bring excitement back to the team. They know that if they do that, sellouts will again become the norm. I don’t think we have a sorry fan base at all. I think it was eroded through years of value (stingy) management. So they do this for a year, sacrifice some money to spike demand. Smart move, and probably will work if the team plays hard and wins games.

  17. skp Says:

    not costly when you consider this – last year, the bucs were regularly selling less than 85% of their seats and got no visibility on local TV. this year, they will be on TV and the “cost” is 50% of revenue that didn’t exist during most games last year. they will gladly give up 50% of tickets 55,000 to 65,000 because it would mean they sold 55k or more tickets. other teams didn’t because they were giving up money they actually saw last year, the glazers have no such downside

  18. lightningbuc Says:


    Joe was only reporting on what a St Pete Times writer opined about. Don’t shoot the messenger.

  19. lightningbuc Says:


    While I agree that the economy plays a part, I think Apple Roof hit it on the head. To me, it is no coincidence the three Florida NFL teams have attendance issues, and it isn’t just bad economies. It’s because our cities, unlike those up north, have many people amongst us who want to root for some other team than the Bucs even though they have no desire to live in the city they are cheering. While our populations are similar to other NFL cities, the actual “client base” is much lower. That, coupled with a bad economy, is why stadiums in Florida aren’t full.

  20. Bucnjim Says:


    Voice of reason! How many of the thousands of readers that visit this site were born and raised here in Florida? That would be a great poll to check out. My guess would be less than 20%. When I moved to Florida with the intention of never moving back; I decided to root for the home teams. Most people refuse to do this which is sad. They are the one’s who sit and constantly Complain, want nothing to do with moving back up north.

  21. BOb Says:

    i believe there was an underrated level of racism that played into raheem’s tenure here. with a white coach back at the helm, i believe we see more people coming back.

    sad but (i believe) true

  22. SilenceTheCritics Says:

    I dont believe that at all Lightning Buc, fact is the bucs have had atleast what like 12 years in a row of straight sell outs?… the fan base is here. I think the problem is most fans are just band wagon jumpers. If they are winning the seats will be filled, if not they are empty. The Rah era was a joke and most could see that. I think it will take a season or 2 of consistancy before we see sellouts on a regular basis but I dont think it has anything to do with most people liking other teams. Samething with the lightning. When they won the stanley cup… there arena was packed…. everybody likes a winner I guess. I think there are very few of us who are actually a “Buc Fan” in good times and bad.

  23. Bucnjim Says:


    Last time I looked Tony Dungy is was and always will be loved by this entire community. Raheem acted like a punk at times and of course was looked upon as such. His immaturity and willingness to party and show favoritism to certain players was his downfall.

  24. Bobby Says:

    Bob, I totally disagree with that. If that logic held true then they wouldn’t attend games because the QB is black, the linemen are black, etc. I’m not saying that racism doesn’t exist but to blame the attendance on that is just silly.


    That and the fact that all Florida teams currently suck and are boring to watch.

  26. Orlandobucfan Says:

    I like how this article comes slightly before the bucs are worth almost a billion dollars.

  27. OAR Says:

    Racism? No, some of these fans just hate everyone equally!

  28. OAR Says:

    Seriously, racism? Nonsense, Tony Dungy’s Bucs sold out the stadium! It’s the man that’s in the skin, people!

  29. OAR Says:

    I’ll be first to sign that list/poll. I was hatched and raised here in Tampa and the great sweltering state of Florida!

  30. Bucnjim Says:


    That’s great, but I’m affraid as you probably know you’re in the minority. When I first moved here the entire area (Tampa, St. Pete & Clearwater) was just over 1 Million people. Now sitting closer to 3 Million and it’s not from some crazy baby boom. Hopefully; we can convince more transplants to become Bucs fans since I’m sure they have no intention of moving back.

  31. Dini's Biceps Says:

    fending off apathy (which was created by Team Glazer) is costly but necessary. They only do things they HAVE TO do. Apathy is dangerous so they have no choice.

  32. bucfever40 Says:

    @JB-Look, first of all, we are NOT the worst fans in the NFL, I take extreme exception to that insult, the REAL fans have supported this team through some very lean years and baked and burned, endured monsoons that brought waterfalls to the old Sombrero, we’ve frozen our butts off in games that had an inch of ice that never melted on the concrete floor that our feet were propped on. Lightning storms that crackled in the air, I mean we’ve been through it all and to this day, we support this team, maybe not to the numbers that would be desirable, but we do have a major fan base in Tampa, and I haven’t seen any wave on offense since Tampa Stadium, so I think your exaggerating big time. I agree that the Glazers have stepped up in a huge way this year, but those that still beef about it are simply not the true fans like us!

  33. Fritz50 Says:

    “When I moved to Florida with the intention of never moving back; I decided to root for the home team”

    As did I, seemed like the thing to do, Williamson, Bennett ,& Wyche notwithstanding.

  34. BigMacAttack Says:

    Eric, sheez, do you ever stop whining for a minute? Real men don’t whine incessantly. Oh sorry I forgot lawyers are exempt.

    I have always wondered why racers or race car drivers weren’t called “racists” instead. hmmmm?

    The Bucs have been running about 80% to 85% minimum for every game over the last few years, excluding primo seats. 40k to 45k crowd.

    The games are going to be on TV or else the Glazers wouldn’t have made the move

  35. BigMacAttack Says:

    I agree that not all of our fans suck, but the ones that do, really really do, a skooby dooby do.

  36. BigMacAttack Says:

    Too many of our fans at the games think they are at a golf tournament.

    People that sit in front of us are constantly putting their hands over their ears. We had one old bastard that starting wearing head phones. When that didn’t work, he got his seats relocated. I’m just a loud-ass and so are all the guys and gals around me. We get into it. For some strange reason people in front of us can’t quite seem to get with program. Now I agree there wasn’t mush to cheer about last year, but you still gotta pump the team up, and definitely yell at the stupid refs every chance you get.

  37. sharkcoasttactical.com Says:

    This subject really gets me going. First, I dont like being called a bad fan for not going to games. Second, there is a boat load of stuff to do in Florida other than football on Sunday. Duh. I also work on Sundays doing gun shows and I don’t like being around 30K drunk people. That doesn’t mean me or anyone who chooses to watch the games from bar or home is a bad fan. Stop that nonsense, you sound like sheep. As Joe said, it is the teams job as business owners to fill the seats. We as fans owe them nothing. Should someone come buy an AK from me simply because I am the AK Guy and they should be loyal with their dollar? Hell no. I have to sell them on the rifle, be nice, and give them a price they can afford with convenience. Football/entertainment is a commodity. You ever wonder why the places that have a hard time selling tickets are the places with nice winter weather? The days of 80,000 wait list are over. They killed that fan base. In closing: Hi Def TVs are cheap, used boats are plentiful, and DUI are too expensive.

  38. So. Ill. Bucs Says:

    @Bigmac, lol, I love racists, especially that Danica Patrick.

    @BucnJim I would not be able to sign that list. Hell, I’ve never even been to the Tampa area. Would love to, but being a broke kid half the country away doesn’t really leave me too many options.

  39. patrickbucs Says:

    If it costs the Glazers some money then so be it, they haven’t provided much help ($$) to the franchise in years. It’s a good start though and I welcome what they have done this offseason. I’ve been a season ticket holder since 98; I was going to drop a few times but it’s a tough decision for me not to renew. It was easy this year to renew even before the draft.

    I really cringe when cities or people in them claim who is the best or worst fans. Not sure how many of you have traveled to other stadiums or watch the games on NFL ticket but a lot of cities and teams have struggled to sell tickets. Don’t let those blackout reports fool you; it’s been an issue for many years except other teams owners or local businesses bought up a bunch of tickets to get it televised. Take the Dolphins for instance this year no blackouts, half the stadium was full. The 10 win Bengals with a great young receiver in AJ Green this year couldn’t sell out other then the Ravens and Steelers. I can go on and on.

    Outside of maybe the Bears, Packers, Cowboys, and probably the Giants pretty much every city has had issues selling tickets at some point since the early 90’s.

    Hopefully the Bucs can have a good season and fill the corners of the upper decks with some old or new Bucs fans. It’s a lot better when it’s rocking, like the undeafeated Minnesota Vikings game on MNF or the SF playoff game. Even the 0-7 Bucs knocking off the Packers in the throwback game on Freeman’s first NFL start.

  40. bucyea Says:

    @Joe—Yea, I was a bit overrecative with comment, BUT it seems, it has been the modus operandi of the local media to pounce on all things negative with regards to the Bucs, and in many cases, manufacture some negative stories, when there are none. IMO, the negative press is partly responsible for the apathy of the Buc fanbase. I’ve lived in large market sport cities all over the country and have never seen such negative coverage of a particular franchise.