Bucs could be U.K.-bound
The Bucs have confirmed they are one of four teams to have been approached by the NFL about possibly playing in the United Kingdom this fall, an opportunity Tampa Bay would welcome.
"The NFL has informed us that we are being considered as one of the teams to participate in next season’s international regular season game in the U.K.," team spokesman Jeff Kamis said. "With the NFL already having awarded Tampa next year’s Super Bowl, playing in an overseas game in the same season would provide even more worldwide exposure to the Tampa Bay area."
An official announcement is expected during Super Bowl week in Phoenix.
The other candidates, according to ESPN, are the Saints, Chiefs and Seahawks. The site of the game hasn't been announced, but the Dolphins and Giants played in London's historic Wembley Stadium in October. The Bucs would seem a logical candidate given the fact the Glazer family also owns historic soccer club Manchester United. But the Bucs could potentially receive a cold reception in England, where the Glazer family is disliked by many because the Brits don't appreciate an American family owning one of their most beloved soccer clubs.
The Bucs play each of the other three candidates in 2008, but it's unlikely the league will pair two division opponents in an overseas game. The Saints are also in the NFC South. Playing them overseas would create a scenario where one team will play one of the two games against that division opponent at home while the other played in the U.K. Thus, the Bucs versus Saints seems like an unlikley matchup. It's believed the game will be a AFC-NFC matchup.
It will interesting to see which team is designated the home team in this game and how season tickets will be dealt with. If a home game is moved overseas, it's not realistic to expect many local fans to be able to attend the game. Whether and how they would be compensated is something we'll likely learn later.
The NFL intends to continue to make a push toward globalization, and playing regular-season games overseas is a big part of the effort. It's expected the Buffalo Bills will play a regular-season game in nearby Toronto this fall.
If selected, this would be the Bucs' second foray outside the U.S. In 2003, Tampa Bay played the Jets in a preseason game in Tokyo.