TAMPA, FL - AUGUST 24: Coach Greg Schiano of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers checks the scoreboard during a 30 - 28 win against the New England Patriots at Raymond James Stadium in a pre-season game August 24, 2012 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers season opener against the Carolina Panthers will be blacked out locally due to the team's inability to sell out Raymond James Stadium.
It appears that local fans of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers won't have an opportunity to watch their favorite team's season opener on TV this Sunday when Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers come to town. That's because the game has been blacked out in the Tampa Bay area.
Last week, the Bucs announced that they were 9,000 tickets away from selling out Raymond James Stadium, and that they had 72 hours to sell those tickets in order to lift the local television blackout. They couldn't manage it, even with the new NFL rule that allows teams to declare a sellout if 85 percent of tickets in non-premium seating are sold.
The Buccaneers have had trouble selling out home games for years and in the past have even resorted to purchasing their own tickets just to lift the TV blackouts. Their third game of this preseason wasn't televised, meaning area fans couldn't see the Bucs defeat the New England Patriots, 30-28.