Bucs bracing for blackouts this season

They are jumping overboard off the pirate ship, and apparently they’re diving off the waiting list also.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers expect local television blackouts in 2010 for the first time since the Glazer family purchased the team 15 years ago.

According to a report by Rick Stroud of the St. Petersburg Times, the season-ticket base for the Bucs now hovers in the “40,000’s” and that will not be enough to sustain sellouts at Raymond James Stadium without massive walkup crowds. Based on how the Bucs played last season, that’s not likely to happen every home Sunday.

Ironically, it wasn’t long ago that the team put up a billboard outside the stadium proclaiming it had a waiting list for season tickets of more than 100,000. Oh well.

"As we sit today, the games will be blacked out,' Joel Glazer said. "Based on where we're at today, for the first time in 15 years, 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 Sept. and they go to watch the game and the game is not on TV. It's not what we want.

"We're working hard to avoid it and I think people are starting to see what we're trying to do with younger players and Josh Freeman and building around that and there is some excitement when we talk to people. But we're in unchartered waters that we haven't been in 15 years, but this is where we're at.'

The Bucs were on the verge of a blackout or two last season but they were able to distribute toickets to charitable groups to keep their games on television, per the report. Good luck making that happen this season.

"We take full responsibility,' Glazer said. "I've always said if we win, people will be there. It's our job to win.'

The first step toward winning? Maybe spending some money.

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