Glazer offers frank assessment of economy's impact on Bucs and the NFL
In some rare comments to reporters after today's Tampa Chamber of Commerce luncheon, Bucs co-chairman Bryan Glazer offered an update on the team's ticket sales and the economy's impact on the club in a very honest fashion.
Glazer said the club has seen an uptick since altering its ticket prices to as low as $25 for youth general admission seats but that sales remain slower than the team would hope because of the region's slow economic recovery.
"Obviously we’re aware of the tough economy out there and we’ve lowered ticket prices to try to make something affordable for all those fans, as low as $25, $35, which is a very good price for a football game," Glazer said.
"We’ve had increased ticket sales obviously, but it’s very rough time in the economy for all of us. Statistics have shown in the last five years, of all the NFL markets, this market has been hit by far the worst. It went from about 4 percent to 13 percent unemployment. That’s the biggest jump in any NFL city."
Despite the increase in sales, the Glazer family continues to warn of possible blackouts.
"To give the honest answer to the fans, we have said there is a very high risk of blackouts," he said. "I would expect that there will be some. I do.
"I think in the beginning of the season it’s very possible. I think people will come together as we hope and start to see the winning football and want to come more and more. But we are understanding of the economy and the people and our fans have to make choices and they have to make choices that are best for themselves.
"If they want to stay home and watch the games on TV or come out and to (free) events like FanFest, we understand. They’re Bucs fans regardless of whether they come to our games or not."
Nonetheless, Glazer reiterated the financial health of the team is "just fine."
Regarding the proposed 18-game regular season, something that has come to the forefront this week, Glazer offered unequivocal support but cautioned that it might take some time to work through the issues associated with the expansion of the season.
"I don’t think anybody is against it," he said. "I think that’s something that everybody is in agreement on. But I think there are a lot of moving pieces with the players and things that are going on right now. That’s something very positive for everybody.
"It’s something that the NFL has got to discuss with the union, everybody’s got to get on board on that. It’s just not as simple as saying, ‘We’re changing the schedule.’"