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NFL Arizona Cardinals

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Will Take Advantage Of New Blackout Rules

When you finish a season with a 4-12 record and play in an area hit hard by the economic recession, it is inevitable that you will have trouble filling the stadium every Sunday. That is what the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been dealing with for the past two seasons. The Buccaneers have had trouble selling tickets because of the on-field product, and economic circumstances in the Tampa Bay area.

The NFL recently loosened their blackout restrictions, and teams can now choose to show games on local television if at least 85% of non-premium tickets are sold. The Buccaneers have decided to take advantage of the new policy.

“We hope that this move, along with lower ticket prices, starting at $30 for adults and $15 for children, will lead to more televised Buccaneer home games this year,” said Vice President of Business Administration Brian Ford.

The Buccaneers will need to sell at least 44,000 tickets each home game in order for the games to be shown on local television, usually Fox Sports 13. Remember, this must be non-premium seats, so not including club tickets and suites. While it will be much easier than selling 65,000 tickets, it is still no easy feat. In 2011, games against the Detroit Lions and Atlanta Falcons saw only 77.8 and 71 percent capacity, respectively. The number that really should be worrisome is 71 percent. That’s around 36,000 out of the 51,000 non-premium seats, if my math isn’t off. I mean, a professional football team that sells only 36,000 tickets for a game is almost unheard of.

Actually, it is unheard of.

But the good news for Buccaneers fans is — they will be able to see a couple of home games on television in 2012.

You can follow Max Luckan on Twitter @MaxLuckan