One guesstimate for Bucs, USF attendance this year: Less than 15,000

The Tampa Sports Authority made what it calls a conservative effort for crowd sizes amidst the coronavirus pandemic to update its budget projections.
Fewer fans will be allowed at Raymond James Stadium this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Fewer fans will be allowed at Raymond James Stadium this year because of the coronavirus pandemic. [ Times ]
Published Aug. 6, 2020

Although we still don’t know how many, if any, fans will be allowed at Bucs and USF games this fall, the Tampa Sports Authority may have provided recent clues — or at least an educated guess — about the reduced capacity coming to Raymond James Stadium.

To present the latest budget projections at a board meeting Tuesday, the Tampa Sports Authority needed to make assumptions about crowd estimates. The assumptions it used, as presented at the meeting and through public documents: Bucs games would have crowds of about 14,000 people, while the Bulls would have about 10,000 spectators in the 65,000-seat stadium.

Related: College football is becoming impossible to justify in the pandemic

The Bucs averaged almost 52,000 fans last season, while USF averaged an announced crowd of almost 32,000.

The projections also assumed that the stadium will continue to operate at reduced capacity through the end of the year before returning to more normal levels in January.

Bobby Silvest, the group’s vice president of marketing and communications, reiterated that the figures are not final.

“With all the uncertainty during these unprecedented times, all we can do is make conservative estimates,” Silvest said. “We don’t know what capacity will be for Bucs or USF at this time.”

What we do know is that the Bucs have said they won’t be able to re-seat everyone who has already purchased tickets for Tom Brady’s first season with Tampa Bay. The team does plan to tarp off the lower bowl’s first seven rows.

Related: Want to watch Tom Brady and the Bucs? Good luck

A few teams have already announced attendance caps during the coronavirus pandemic. The NFL’s Baltimore Ravens plan to host 14,000 fans, while the Jaguars intend to operate at 25-percent capacity of the 67,000-seat TIAA Bank Field. Ohio State is hoping to seat 20,000 fans at the colossal Ohio Stadium.