Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers will lower TV blackout threshold to 85 percent of tickets sold

TAMPA — The Bucs will take full advantage of a new NFL rule that significantly reduces the likelihood of local television blackouts of their home games, the team announced Friday.

Tampa Bay has agreed to allow games to be shown on local television if at least 85 percent of general admission seats at Raymond James Stadium are sold 72 hours before a game, beginning in the fall.

Formerly, the NFL required that all general-admission seating be sold out in order for games to be televised. But the league settled on a rule change in recent weeks that lets teams lower the blackout threshold to as low as 85 percent of general admission tickets sold.

Based on the 51,000-plus general admission seats in Raymond James Stadium, the Bucs will need to sell fewer than 44,000 per game to reach the 85 percent threshold.

The Bucs averaged 56,614 in total attendance for their seven 2011 regular-season home games (one was played in London), about 87 percent of Raymond James Stadium's capacity of 65,000. The total attendance figure includes what is classified as premium seating, which includes club and suite tickets. Attendance figures for non-premium seating alone weren't available.

The Bucs have struggled to sell out home games in recent seasons; 13 of 15 home games played in Tampa during the past two seasons weren't sellouts and, as a result, weren't televised locally. Before that, to avoid blackouts the Bucs took advantage of a loophole that allowed teams to lift blackouts if they agreed to satisfy revenue-sharing requirements by paying 34 cents on the dollar for unsold tickets.

Friday's move continues the Bucs' recent efforts to show goodwill to fans through a number of tactics.

"We hope that this move, along with lower ticket prices, starting at $30 for adults and $15 for children, will lead to more televised Buccaneer home games this year," Bucs vice president of business administration Brian Ford said.

Prices on 80 percent of seats have been reduced, with other prices remaining flat for a fourth consecutive season. Some of the price cuts were steep; select lower-level end zone seats, which last season were priced at $89, are now $75 per game on season-ticket plans.

The Bucs have initiated an all-out effort to sell out their Sept. 9 season opener against Carolina, offering free parking in select lots, half-price on food and nonalcoholic concessions. The team also will honor cornerback Ronde Barber's expected 200th consecutive start.

Not every team decided to avail itself of the NFL's new blackout rule.

The Titans, Colts, Chargers and Bills are among teams that declined to take advantage. The Titans said they are confident they'll continue a streak of 13 straight seasons of sellouts. Other teams generally cited a need to maximize revenue with ticket sales, saying it wasn't financially prudent to adopt the new rule.

"We're a small-market team, and we need people in the stadium," Colts executive Pete Ward told the Indianapolis Star. "While we value all of our fans, our first priority is to protect the investment of paying customers."

In Buffalo, CEO Russ Brandon said, "We are a volume-based franchise. For us to be successful, we have to keep our ticket prices low and sell a great number of tickets."

The Bucs must adhere to the 85 percent threshold — the lowest the NFL is allowing teams to have — all season, meaning they can't change it depending on the opponent. And if they start selling out games, they are on the hook to split revenue with the visiting team on every ticket sold above 85 percent capacity.

Teams face a Sunday deadline to decide on blackout restrictions for 2012.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers will lower TV blackout threshold to 85 percent of tickets sold 07/13/12 [Last modified: Friday, July 13, 2012 11:08pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. For starters: Ramus to DL, Peterson back, no further moves


    We were expecting a flurry of roster moves this afternoon and we got one. OF Colby Ramus is on the 10-day disabled list retroactive to June 19 with left hip tendinitis.

    Colby Ramus is on the 10-day disabled list retroactive to June 19 with left hip tendinitis.
  2. Jameis Winston stats: How the Bucs QB performed under pressure


    Every quarterback's performance declines when he faces pressure from the defense.

    Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston faced pressure on more than 30 percent of his pass plays last season. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  3. Could Lightning deal for a defenseman today?


    Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman has been trying to further bolster his blueline, and he may have a chance to acquire one by tonight's first round of the NHL Draft.

    The Lightning is reportedly in on Travis Hamonic (Islanders), though New York is rumored to be asking for two-first round picks.
  4. SI ranks Quinton Flowers on top 100, above Deondre Francois


    Sports Illustrated's ongoing countdown of the top 100 players in college football includes some high praise for USF quarterback Quinton Flowers.

  5. Kentucky recruit, former Tampa Catholic star Kevin Knox among top prospects for 2018 NBA Draft


    Less than 24 hours after the NBA Draft, analysts have already begun looking ahead to 2018.

    Tampa Catholic star Kevin Knox finishes a layup during the McDonald's All-American game in March at the United Center in Chicago. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]