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Q&A: Bucs' blackouts follow NFL rules

Bucs' blackouts follow NFL rules

I would like to know what other NFL teams black out their preseason games like the Bucs do, and also what regular season games were blacked out last season?

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, like all teams in the NFL, operate under the league's blackout policy that has been in place since 1973. It says that a team's home game cannot be televised locally if it isn't sold out 72 hours before kickoff.

Of course, there are loopholes.

The NFL will sometimes allow a team to set a deadline of 48 hours instead of 72 if there are only a few thousand tickets unsold, and it has even given its approval a few times to extend the deadline to 24 hours before the game.

Club seats aren't included in the count, and neither are the unused tickets allocated for visiting teams. Some teams, notably Jacksonville, have even closed off some seating areas to reduce the number of tickets they need to sell to avoid a blackout.

Some teams have arrangements with businesses or their television broadcast partner to purchase the remaining seats so a game can be televised. And some teams buy their own tickets to keep the games on TV. The Bucs resorted to this in 2009, giving the tickets to local sponsors and charitable groups to keep their games televised.

In 2010, though, all the Bucs' home preseason and regular season games were blacked out. They were the only NFL team to have to do so. Oakland, Buffalo, Detroit, Cincinnati and San Diego each had some games blacked out.

For the Bucs, 2010 was the first time games were blacked out since the 65,890-seat Raymond James Stadium opened in 1998. Bucs owner Bryan Glazer has said he expected more blackouts this year.

At one time, the Bucs said they had a waiting list of more than 100,000 for season tickets.

Rays on camera, but not on TV

As of Aug. 16, the Rays have played 113 games and I have watched every one of them on TV. My grandson attended the Kansas City game on Aug. 11 with his "Y" camp and that game was not televised (and "Oh, Grandma, there were cameras everywhere!"). Why?

Rick Vaughn, vice president of communications for the Rays, said: "Our original TV contract with Sun Sports, ESPN and Fox called for 159 of 162 games to be televised. The three games not televised were to be June 4, Aug. 25 and Sept. 24.

"However, a few weeks beforehand, our Saturday, Aug. 20, game — originally to be televised by Fox — was dropped in favor of another nationally televised game involving two other teams. To serve the largest potential audience, Sun Sports then dropped the Aug. 11 weekday game and added the Aug. 20 weekend game.

"Cameras were present because MLB Network telecast the game and we always have cameras in the ballpark for the RaysVision scoreboard."

Q&A: Bucs' blackouts follow NFL rules 09/08/11 [Last modified: Thursday, September 8, 2011 11:08am]
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