It's a Blackout Situation: What The Buccaneers Blackout Says About The Fans

Paul MuellerSenior Analyst ISeptember 10, 2010

The Buccaneers arre the only opening weekend NFL game to be blacked out.
The Buccaneers arre the only opening weekend NFL game to be blacked out.Scott Halleran/Getty Images

By now, you’ve probably heard.

You’ve either made other plans, purchased tickets (unlikely), or chosen another game to watch Sunday afternoon, because the Buccaneers won’t be there when you turn on your television.

The Bucs are the only NFL team suffering a local blackout this week, and even though a handful of blackouts are expected this season, this is cause for concern.

It’s been more than eight months since we saw meaningful Buccaneer football—apparently not long enough to sell-out Ray-J for the opener. And I’ve heard every excuse in the book since the blackout became official.

I know, it’s just the Browns, but that’s what every other NFL team will be saying when the Bucs come to town. And you can bet those won’t all be blacked out.

Sure, beers are eight bucks. Bring a flask. I do.

Yeah, I hear you, the at-home experience has been enhanced with television packages and high definition. I bet you’re a fan of internet dating, too.

Close your facebook page and come back to real life. Tampa Bay sports fans are some of the worst around.

The Rays have been competing for the best record in baseball since April, and they routinely take the field at the Trop with around 12,000 fans, most of whom snagged $7 party deck tickets or borrowed season tickets because their boss’s daughter had a piano recital.

This year, the Rays are averaging 22,679 fans, less than last year's 23,148 and ninth out of 14 American League teams.

They barely even broke 20,000 for a game in which they hosted the might-as-well-be hometown Red Sox in August.

The Bucs bought back tickets in 2009 to prevent blackouts, and this is how we repay them: By staying home.

The NFL suffered 22 blackouts in 2009, and many more are expected this season. And even though teams like the Chargers and Bengals, playoff teams from a year ago, fear blackouts this season, odds are they’ll find a way to prevent it from happening.

Even the Jets sold out at the last minute on Thursday to avoid a blackout, although owner Woody Johnson would have bought the remaining tickets, Glazer-style, to prevent it if they hadn’t.

The reality is, bad teams are subject to blackouts because they’re not any fun to watch. Last year's blackouts were confined to five teams: The Jaguars, Lions, Chiefs, Raiders, and Rams.

What do all these teams have in common? They’re all major cities, they’re all suffering because of a down economy, and, oh yeah, they’re all terrible football teams.

The Jags were the best team on this list at 7-9, while the other four blacked-out squads totaled 12 wins in 2009.

The Buccaneers could have six of their eight home games blacked out in 2010. The Saints and Steelers will fill Ray-J. The likes of the Rams, Seahawks, and Lions won't.

But what happens if they string together a couple of wins? Will the fair-weathers flock to Ray-J?


Hey, self-proclaimed hardcore Bucs fan, if you haven’t made other plans yet for Sunday, maybe you should use that time to take a good look in the mirror.