Preseason tickets can often be a tough sell for NFL teams. That is especially true in Tampa Bay, where the Buccaneers' preseason opener on Thursday will be blacked out in the local television market due to a lack of ticket sales, according to Roy Cummings of The Tampa Tribune.
Operating under the NFL's 85 percent rule, Tampa Bay would have needed to sell 85 percent of the nonpremium seats to avoid the local blackout. Raymond James Stadium's seating capacity is listed at 65,890 including premium seats. That means the Bucs would have had to sell somewhere in the neighborhood of 45-50,000 tickets to avoid the blackout.
Blackouts are nothing new in Tampa Bay, as according to Cummings, 19 of the last 23 home regular-season games have been blacked out, as were the six home preseason games over the last three years. That streak will continue for at least the first preseason game this year, despite notable offseason acquisitions like Darrelle Revis and Dashon Goldson. The Bucs will have until 72 hours before the next home preseason game to accommodate the 85 percent rule and avoid another blackout.