We’ll press pause on the whole mediation/litigation/constipation thing by delving into what could become a mildly interesting media tiff between the guy who used to run the Seahawks, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Tod Leiweke, the former Seahawks president whose brother, Tim, is trying to bring the NFL back to L.A., currently runs the Tampa Bay Lightning of the NHL. Per the folks at JoeBucsFan.com, Tod Leiweke recently addressed during a radio interview the widely-held notion that the Buccaneers (and the MLB’s Rays) can’t fill their stadiums due to local economic conditions.
Tod Leiweke isn’t buying the “bad economy” line. He said that the St. Pete Times Forum was sold out on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday for Lady Gaga, Iron Maiden, and Lightning hockey, respectively.
“We’re the fifth or sixth busiest arena in the country,” Tod Leiweke said, adding that placing the blame on fans and market conditions is “the first exit on the highway of excuses.”
He also pointed out that, when he joined the Seahawks in 2003, the Seahawks had a season-ticket base of “about 33,000.” Seven years later — and during much worse national economic conditions — the Seahawks had 61,000 season-ticket holders and a waiting list of 10,000.
Though it’s not a full-blown franchise cat fight yet, whether it moves in that direction will depend on the manner in which the Buccaneers (or the Rays) respond. And the Bucs almost have no choice but to respond, given that they have been riding the “bad economy” horse to justify the wide patches of empty seats at Raymond James Stadium in 2009 and 2010.