Although the Buccaneers have promised that none of this year’s home games will be blacked out on local television, they’re a long way from filling their stadium.
For Thursday night’s loss to the Panthers, the Buccaners listed their paid attendance as 59,073, according to the Tampa Bay Times. But the Tampa Sports Authority said only 47,751 people actually went through the turnstiles.
The NFL Record and Fact Book lists the capacity of Raymond James Stadium as 65,908, so there were more than 18,000 empty seats at the stadium on Thursday night.
And, of course, the fans who are in the stands are not enjoying themselves, unless they’re masochists. The Bucs are 0-7, and the fans in attendance are increasingly calling for coach Greg Schiano’s head.
The Glazer family that owns the team doesn’t have to listen to the fans who want Schiano fired. But the Glazers surely will listen to the fans who aren’t buying tickets at all. No NFL owner wants to leave potential ticket revenue on the table, and for Schiano’s job security, playing in front of empty seats may be worse than playing in front of fans who want him to be fired.