A Week 1 game matching two of the most promising young teams in the NFL will be played before thousands of empty seats and will be blacked out on local television.
The Buccaneers’ home opener against the Lions still has more than 10,000 unsold tickets, and it’s virtually impossible that the Bucs could sell that many tickets by the deadline to lift the blackout, which is a week from now.
That’s a sign that all the young talent that led the Bucs to a surprising 10-6 record last season hasn’t been enough to get the fans excited in Tampa Bay. Last year every game was blacked out, and there’s a good chance every game will be blacked out this year, too.
Of course, if the Buccaneers wanted to, they could buy back all the unsold tickets at 34 percent of face value to get the blackout lifted. By a back-of-the-envelope estimate of 10,000 tickets at $100 each, it would cost the Buccaneers $340,000 to lift the blackout. That’s not much money to the billionaire Glazer family, owners of the Buccaneers — especially considering how much money the Bucs are saving this season by having a payroll that’s nearly $30 million under the salary cap.
And that may be a part of why the local fans aren’t supporting the team: If the Glazers aren’t going to spend money on the Buccaneers, why should the fans?