The Bucs were the only NFL home team in Week One to play in a stadium where the non-premium seats had not been sold out. And so the game was not televised locally.
Coach Raheem Morris thinks that the policy compelling a blackout under those circumstances should change.
“The economy right now is rough,” Morris said earlier this week on WDAE radio in Tampa, via JoeBucsFan.com. “We
understand that. And I’m very sensitive to that. I actually was in a
mall this week, and ran across a young man in the mall in the Apple
store and gave him and his family four tickets to the game. And I was fired up about that and received a beautiful e-mail
today from their family. And, you know, I wish I could do more. I wish I
could buy all the tickets myself. But I can’t do that yet.
“I don’t think it’s a lack of fan support,” Morris said. “You would like the NFL to change the [blackout] rule with the economy
with what we got going on right now.”
Though Morris may not be able to buy all the tickets himself, the reality is that, last year, the Bucs paid 34 cents on the dollar as to any non-premium tickets, ensuring a string of “sellouts”. And it appears that the Rams did the same thing on Sunday. And it’s likely that the same tactic has been used in the past — and will be used in the future — by other teams to ensure that the three-hour infomercial will air in the home market.
But the league won’t be changing the blackout rule, regardless of whether slow sales result from a bad economy or a bad team or a kick-ass HD/3D TV that was just installed in the man cave. Indeed, as the home-viewing experience improves, the league will be even more vigilant regarding the blackout rule, since more and more fans will realize it’s cheaper — and in many respects better — to stay home.