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Tampa Bay Buccaneers-Carolina Panthers game will be blacked out locally

TAMPA — The Bucs confirmed Thursday what had been expected for days: Ticket sales for Sunday's season opener against the Panthers fell short and the game will not be shown on local television.

Per NFL rules, when sales do not reach a minimum threshold — in the Bucs' case that's 85 percent of nonpremium seating — at least 72 hours prior to kickoff, games are not permitted to be aired in television markets within 75 miles.

Last Friday, the Bucs said 9,000 such seats were unsold, making it unlikely they could move that many in six days. It's unclear how many seats remain unsold, but a search of Ticket­master.com on Thursday showed a number of seats at $45 and up.

There was optimism that the game could surpass the blackout threshold given the number of incentives. The game is billed as a celebration of Ronde Barber's 200th consecutive start, marked by discounted concessions, free parking and a fan giveaway.

It's also the first game of the Greg Schiano era, and the new coach has been selling his team as a group that fans can be proud of.

"We need to make the Bucs the buzz again," Schiano said Tuesday at a local chamber of commerce event. "I promise you these (players) and my coaching staff, we are going to do our part on the field. If you will do your part in your communities, we will make that stadium, Raymond James Stadium, the biggest homefield advantage in the National Football League."

Co-chairman Bryan Glazer appealed to business leaders, saying the Bucs wanted to "re-establish an atmosphere that will fuel our team and frustrate our opponents.''

Two regular-season Bucs games aired on local television in the past two seasons. In 2010, all eight regular-season games were blacked out.

This season, to address the trend, the NFL allowed teams to reduce the number of ticket sales necessary to lift blackouts. Formerly, clubs had to sell 100 percent of nonpremium seats to lift blackouts. The Bucs settled on 85 percent, the minimum allowed.

For at least this week, even that was not enough.

Stephen F. Holder can be reached at sholder@tampabay.com. Follow him on Twitter at @HolderStephen.

Bucs 19th in average ticket price

The Bucs rank 19th out of the 32 NFL teams in average ticket price, according to Team Marketing Report's annual Fan Cost Index. Tampa Bay averages $69.72 for a general-seating ticket, a 2.4 percent decrease from last season, the fourth-largest decrease in the league. The league average ticket price is $78.38, up 2.5 percent from 2011, the report said. The Jets topped the Patriots, who have sold out every game since 1994, for the highest price by 10 cents ($117.84). Besides the Jets and Patriots, three other teams have nonsuite tickets selling for more than $100: Giants ($111.69), Bears ($110.91) and Cowboys ($110.20). The cheapest average tickets: Browns ($54.20), Bills ($58.36) and Jaguars ($59.54). The average cost for a family of four to buy general-seating tickets, two small beers, four small soft drinks, four hot dogs, parking, two programs and two adult-size hats is $443.93, up 3.9 percent from last year, the report said. The Bucs average is $391.28, up 0.8 percent.

Times staff, wires

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The Bucs rank 19th out of the 32 NFL teams in average ticket price, according to Team Marketing Report's annual Fan Cost Index. Tampa Bay averages $69.72 for a general seating ticket, a 2.4 percent decrease from last season, the fourth-largest decrease in the league. The league average ticket price is $78.38, up 2.5 percent from 2011, the report said. The Jets topped the Patriots, who have sold out every game since 1994, for the highest price by 10 cents ($117.84). Besides the Jets and Patriots, three other teams have nonsuite tickets selling for more than $100: Giants ($111.69), Bears ($110.91) and Cowboys ($110.20). The teams with the cheapest average tickets: Browns ($54.20), Bills ($58.36) and Jaguars ($59.54). The average cost for a family of four to buy general seating tickets, two small beers, four small soft drinks, four hot dogs, parking, two programs and two adult-size hats is $443.93, up 3.9 percent from last year, the report said. The Bucs average is $391.28, up 0.8 percent.

Times staff, wires

Tampa Bay Buccaneers-Carolina Panthers game will be blacked out locally 09/06/12 [Last modified: Thursday, September 6, 2012 10:16pm]

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