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)

Want to see the blacked out Tampa Bay Buccaneers game on Sunday? Good luck

Sunday's Bucs-Browns game will be blacked out in the Tampa Bay area, making it the first regular-season Bucs game not to be aired locally since Oct. 26, 1997. Because it has been so long, we need a bit of a refresher on how this whole blackout thing works.

What is the blackout rule?

Put into effect by the NFL in 1973, it states that if a game is not sold out 72 hours before kickoff, it is not aired within a 75-mile radius from the stadium.

Does that mean you can watch the game 76 miles from the stadium?

Not necessarily. Markets outside of 75 miles might be showing another game. Take this Sunday. CBS has the rights to the Bucs-Browns game. Fort Myers is more than 75 miles away from Tampa, but its CBS affiliate is showing the Bills-Dolphins game. Tallahassee is more than 75 miles away, but the CBS affiliate there is showing the Broncos-Jaguars game. Orlando is considered the Bucs' "secondary market,'' meaning the blackout rule applies there, too. However, sports bars more than 75 miles away that carry the NFL Sunday Ticket, which picks up all games through DirecTV or satellite dishes, will be able to show the game.

What if you have the Sunday Ticket on DirecTV or some other cable outlet and you live within 75 miles? Will you be able to see the game?

No, the blackout rules still apply.

What about local sports bars?

Again, you're out of luck. The game is blacked out to all businesses and households within 75 miles of Raymond James Stadium.

Aren't there pirate websites on the Internet that pick up blacked out games?

We can neither confirm nor deny such sites exist. Well, we could, but seeing as how it's technically illegal, you're on your own.

So when the Bucs are blacked out, will we get a replacement game on television in that time slot?

Yes. This Sunday, for example, the local CBS affiliate (Ch. 10) will pick up the Bills-Dolphins game. Most Bucs games this season will be covered by Fox (Ch. 13) because it carries NFC games and the Bucs are an NFC team. CBS carries the AFC. For interconference games, the away team determines which network picks up the game. If it's an AFC team, the game is carried by CBS. If it's an NFC team, the game is carried by Fox. NBC (Ch. 8), ESPN and the NFL Network also carry games, but no need to worry about that because the Bucs aren't scheduled to appear on those networks. Among the Bucs' eight home games, six are on Fox and two — Sunday and Sept. 26 against Pittsburgh — are on CBS.

Who selects the replacement game we see when the Bucs are blacked out?

Officially, the game is selected by the networks. However, the local affiliate can give its input.

Why are we getting Bills-Dolphins?

Quite frankly, the Bills-Dolphins looks like the worst of the possible replacement games. Other games at 1 p.m. on CBS: Raiders-Titans, Broncos-Jaguars, Colts-Texans and — what appears to be the best game of all — Bengals-Patriots. CBS chose the Bills-Dolphins game for here because it assumes there is a Dolphins following in the bay area. Rob Correa, CBS's executive vice president of programming, said, "The Dolphins-Bills game seemed like the natural choice for the Tampa Bay market.''

So does that mean we're going to be stuck watching the Dolphins whenever the Bucs are blacked out?

No. Most Dolphins games are on CBS because they are an AFC team. Most of the Bucs games are going to be on Fox. That means we're probably more likely to see games involving fellow NFC South teams: Saints, Falcons and Panthers.

Is there any other way to watch Sunday's game?

Well, you could actually go to the game. Or you could travel outside of the 75-mile blackout zone and find a sports bar that is showing all of the NFL games. Or you can wait until midnight — 11 hours after kickoff — and watch the game on your computer. Like last season, will make blacked out games available to the local markets beginning at midnight. The game will be available for 72 hours except for the window when the Monday Night Football game is played. This Monday, there will be two games (at 7 and 10:15). So that expands the amount of time you will not be able to watch the Bucs-Browns game.

What else can Bucs fans do to follow the game?

It's still available on radio on 620-AM and 103.5-FM. and other national websites have in-game trackers that spit out the details of the game. And of course (shameless plug alert) you can follow the latest news on and our Bucs Beat blog at

Tom Jones can be reached at

Want to see the blacked out Tampa Bay Buccaneers game on Sunday? Good luck 09/09/10 [Last modified: Friday, September 10, 2010 9:34am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Jordan Spieth wins British Open


    SOUTHPORT, England — Someday, perhaps soon, there will be a plaque at Royal Birkdale for Jordan Spieth, much like the one off the 16th hole that celebrates Arnold Palmer and the 6-iron he slashed out of the rough in 1961 to win the British Open and usher in a new era of golf.

    Matt Kuchar plays out of the bunker on the 18th hole and finishes with bogey for 1-under 69. He had a one-shot lead after 13 holes.
  2. Fennelly: Brutal weekend could be start of something worse for Rays

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Well, that was lovely.

    Brad Boxberger suffers his second loss in the three-game series, this time by allowing back-to-back homers in the eighth inning when called on to protect a 5-3 lead. “Just bad pitches,” he says.
  3. Wesley Chapel hockey camp impresses youth players, parents

    Lightning Strikes

    WESLEY CHAPEL — As a 17-year-old Triple-A hockey player, MacCallum Brown regularly plays against elite talent. As a Palm Harbor resident, he often has to travel to face that talent.

  4. Rays journal: Rays gamble on Sergio Romo's track record, heart

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Some of RHP Sergio Romo's numbers this season with the Dodgers were the worst of his career, yet the Rays feel he can be a good fit for their bullpen.

    LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 26:  Sergio Romo #54 of the Los Angeles Dodgers throws a pitch in the 9th inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Dodger Stadium on June 26, 2017 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images)
  5. Rays claim not to be panicking after third straight brutal loss to Rangers

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — There was no "here we go again" moment in the dugout as Rougned Odor's two-run homer in the eighth inning arced across Tropicana Field and toward the rightfield seats, even though when it landed, the score was tied and another late-inning Rays lead was blown.

    Rays third baseman Evan Longoria heads back to the dugout after fouling out in the ninth inning with the potential tying run on first.