Bucs must sell 9,000 tickets to avoid blackout of season opener vs. Carolina
The Bucs confirmed they still need to sell 9,000 tickets to reach the 85 percent general seat threshold to lift the NFL's blackout of their regular season opener against Carolina Sept. 9.
The deadline is 4:25 p.m. Thursday to avoid a television blackout within a 75-mile radius of the local market. Seven of the Bucs' nine games played at Raymond James Stadium last season were blacked out.
The Bucs were among only a few teams that elected to take the league's offer of selling 85 percent of the general seats -- about 44,000 -- in order meet the requirements for a sellout at RJS under the NFL's modified guidelines.
The Bucs are offering free parking and half price on all concessions, excluding alcohol, for the season opener against the Panters. They have discounted tickets to include $15 and $30 options, initiated half-season ticket packages and 12-month payment plans.
But the debut of new coach Greg Schiano, as well as a celebration of cornerback Ronde Barber playing in his 200th consecutive game, has not attracted enough fans to avoid the blackout nine days before the season opener against the Panthers.
The Bucs committed $140.5-million to contracts for free agents such as Chargers wide receiver Vincent Jackson, Saints guard Carl Nicks and Lions cornerback Eric Wright.
The Bucs normally don't comment on the pace of ticket sales, but director of communications Jonathan Grella confirmed Friday that the team still was approximately 9,000 tickets shy of a sellout for the Sept. 9 regular-season opener against quarterback Cam Newton and the Panthers.