The NFL’s Tampa Bay problem continues to get worse. The NFL and the Bucs will black out fans in the Tampa area for the 22nd time in the last 24 home games, including all three home games this season.
At this point, one can legitimately ask if the Bucs will ever be shown on television again. After all, as games continue to be blacked out, the fan base will shrink and fewer fans will feel compelled to come out. And if enough fans don’t come out, the Glazer family, who own the Bucs, will feel justified in moving the team. (At the present moment, they have a sweetheart of a stadium deal so they’re unlikely to move.)
Does the NFL care? Do the Glazers? Keep in mind, they could avoid a blackout for $100,000 which, given their net worth, amounts to about $3.70 to you and me. The team also benefits from a stadium deal that ends up netting the family over $1.5 million per year just on operating income.
“I’m not disappointed,” Bucs co-chairman Bryan Glazer said. “The economy is very tough here. We have been hit harder than almost any other community in the county, as you know. So, these are Buc fans, and when they can afford to come, they’ll come. I’m excited.”
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While the Tampa Bay community may be suffering, the Glazers sure aren’t. They bought the team in 1995 for $192 million (about $298 million today) and the team is now valued at over $1 billion. The Glazers net worth has gone from $300 million ($465 million today) to over $3.6 billion in that same time.
So the Glazers and the NFL continue to believe (or not care) that blackouts somehow are beneficial to the Bucs fan base. Even as the Bucs are clear evidence that they don’t. (Not to mention that sports economists overwhelming agree NFL blackouts don’t work to sell tickets.)
This is your modern-day NFL.