Buccaneers could have as many as six TV blackouts

Barring an unforeseen run on tickets for Sunday’s season opener for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, it will likely be blacked out locally on television.

Rick Stroud of the St. Petersburg Times reports that Bucs officials are bracing for the first of what should be several blackouts this season.

Per NFL rules, teams have until 1 p.m. Thursday – or a little more than 48 hours – to sell out non-suite tickets to a game in order for it to be shown in the local market. That local market is defined by a 75-mile radius. Stroud reports that the Bucs drew crowds of about 30,000 for their two preseason games or less than half of the seating capacity at Raymond James Stadium.

The franchise is believed to have a season-ticket base of about 40,000. Stroud speculates the only sellouts might be the Sept. 26 game vs. Pittsburgh and the Oct. 17 meeting with New Orleans. Tampa has always been a popular destination for fans from visiting teams. When the Bucs were in the old NFC Central, Chicago Bears fans would flock to Tampa annually to see their team play. The Bucs don’t have a good list of visiting teams this season though other than the Steelers and Saints.

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