SBD/September 7, 2012/NFL Season Preview

Despite Adoption Of NFL's New 85% Rule, Bucs' Season-Opener To Be Blacked Out

Bucs unable to sell out season opener against Panthers despite several fan incentives
The Buccaneers Thursday confirmed "what had been expected for days: Ticket sales for Sunday's season opener against the Panthers fell short and the game will not be shown on local television," according to Stephen Holder of the TAMPA BAY TIMES. The Bucs this season adopted the new NFL blackout rule that requires a minimum of 85% of non-premium seating be sold to lift a blackout. However, the team last Friday said that 9,000 seats "were unsold, making it unlikely they could move that many in six days." It is unknown how many seats remain unsold. There had been "optimism that the game could surpass the blackout threshold given the number of incentives." The game is "billed as a celebration of Ronde Barber's 200th consecutive start, marked by discounted concessions, free parking and a fan giveaway." It also is the "first game of the Greg Schiano era, and the new coach has been selling his team as a group that fans can be proud of" (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 9/7). In Orlando, George Diaz writes under the header, "Cloudy Skies Forecast For NFL Teams In Sunshine State." Diaz: "Everything goes in cycles, I suppose, but for the three NFL franchises in the Sunshine State, it's pretty much gloom and doom again as we get ready for some football this weekend" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 9/7).

JETS NOT BLACKED OUT: ESPN N.Y.'s Rich Cimini reported the Jets have yet to sell out MetLife Stadium "in the traditional sense" for their game Sunday against the Bills, but fans will "still see the game on local TV." Jets Owner Woody Johnson said, "We won't be blacked out. Whether we've sold every seat, I don't know." Cimini noted the Jets will "satisfy the sellout rule for this game because they've sold the required number of tickets -- an amount predetermined by the team, per league rules" (ESPNNY.com, 9/6).
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