The Tampa Bay Buccaneers continue to struggle to sell tickets, and it’s gotten so bad that it’s time to address the question of whether the market still merits having an NFL franchise.
With their regular-season home opener only nine days away, the Buccaneers remain 9,000 short of the goal for lifting the local blackout.
The gap, reported by Roy Cummings of the Tampa Tribune, must be closed within 72 hours of kickoff, or the game won’t be televised in the team’s home market.
The failure to sell enough tickets at the stadium comes despite a string of efforts to sell all non-premium seats, from taking full advantage of the new league rule that allows teams to cut their “manifest” to 85 percent, to uncharacteristically spending million on free agents like Vincent Jackson, Carl Nicks, and Eric Wright, to hiring a new coach, to cutting the prices on parking and concessions for the home opener, to honoring Ronde Barber.
By the way, it’s the first freaking game of the year. And Cam Newton is coming to town. Division rival. The team that once claimed Chris Simms’ spleen.
It was supposed to be a slam dunk for Week One. And still the team is 9,000 tickets short.
Look, we like Tampa. The city did a great job hosting the Super Bowl. But regardless of the reason — local economy, apathy, whatever — if fans continue to fail to show up for the games, at some point the team needs to be moved to a place where the fans have the money, the time, and the inclination to attend games.
The Glazers get blamed for plenty of things. They bear no blame here. The Glazers have tried to improve the team and to make it more attractive to attend games. Eventually, the people need to respond.
There’s no indication that the Glazers are looking to move the team. Given the manner in which the community continues to respond to the franchise, they’d be crazy if they weren’t exploring their options.