A new NFL rule will allow the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to avoid local television blackouts even when Raymond James Stadium isn’t declared a sellout. Now, the Bucs will only have to sell 85 percent of their non-premium seats to prevent blackouts, as opposed to 100 percent last season.
“We hope that this move, along with lower ticket prices, starting at $30 for adults and $15 for children, will lead to more televised Buccaneer home games this year,” stated Vice President of Business Administration Brian Ford in a press release.
There is some risk assumed by the Bucs in accepting the 85 percent standard, however. If attendance rises above that minimum level, they will have to split revenue with the opposing team for every ticket sold over that mark for the rest of the season.
If the Buccaneers begin to improve attendance numbers, this could be a costly move. Even so, it’s a route the organization is willing to take to allow fans to watch the game locally.
“In my opinion, if you can get 65,000 people in the stands, that’s more beer and parking revenue, so I would guess that they would still make more money in the long run,” Cook said.
Five of the Bucs’ seven home games were blacked out in 2011 (though the Buccaneers game at Wembley Field in London was considered a home game and was not subject to blackout rules). According to the Tampa Tribune, dating back to the 2010 season, the Bucs were blacked out in 10-consecutive home games. That streak ended week-four of the 2011 season against the Indianapolis Colts on Monday Night Football.
ESPN’s attendance tracker listed the Buccaneers as the third-worst in the NFL in terms of average attendance.