According to Joel Glazer, the Buccaneers are having real problems moving tickets, and they're expecting that a lot of home games will be blacked out on local television. From Rick Stroud at the St. Petersburg Times:
Bucs co-chairman Joel Glazer said Wednesday at the NFL owners' meetings that the team's season ticket base is in the "40,000s" and that it's likely home games next season will be blacked out on local television for the first time in the 15 years the Glazer family has owned the club.
"Based on where we're at today," Glazer said, "... realistically, we are staring at having games blacked out in our local market. I bring that up because I don't want people to be surprised when they get to September and ... the game is not on TV. It's not what we want."
I'd love to wag a finger of shame at Bucs fans, but you can't really expect people to pay to see a 3-13 team while the economy is still in a Matt Millen-esque state of disrepair.
The Bucs are rebuilding; there's no question about that. And while they're only one season removed from a winning campaign, two from the playoffs, and have a recent history better than most teams in the NFL, you still can't expect to move tickets in a bad economy if you can't realistically expect to compete, even for a division title.
'Tis a shame. A half-empty Raymond James stadium isn't a good thing for anyone.
- Joel Glazer