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Buccaneers sued over junk faxes

NFL teams continue to stumble over the noble fax machine. This time the Buccaneers are in trouble for some unwanted ticket ads.


The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are leaving no stone unturned in an effort to bolster sagging attendance numbers. This includes sending faxes, thousands and thousands of faxes, to unsuspecting fax machines throughout the state of Florida. And it might just cost the team as much as $270 million thanks to a federal lawsuit accusing the team of sending junk faxes, according to the Tampa Bay Tribune.

Cin-Q Automobiles in Gainesville, Fl. had enough and decided to take the Bucs to court. Spamming fax machines is llegal thanks to the Junk Fax Prevention Act of 2005, which imposes a fine of up to $500 per junk fax. The lawsuit claims the Buccaneers sent out 180,000 such faxes. That could take $90 million out of Malcolm Glazer's pocket. If the court decides that the faxes were sent intentionally, the damages could jump to $270 million.

The plaintiff's attorney wants the case to get class-action treatment for anyone who got unwanted Bucs' ticket offers.

In defense of the Buccaneers, the team needs all the help it can get at the gate. Attendance there ranked 31st last season; only Oakland had fewer fans at its games. The 2012 season opener was blacked out, despite the team's decision to use the NFL's new, more forgiving rules to drop the threshold to 85 percent of available tickets. It was the only team in the NFL with a Week 1 blackout.

Mass-faxing ticket advertisements seems like the marketing equivalent of smashing up a victory formation. Sure, you can do it, but you don't. Besides, $270 million could go a long way toward a much better marketing campaign, like airplane banners or a yellow pages ad.

Fax machines are the cockroach of communication technology, untouched by evolutionary progress. Regardless, NFL teams are struggling with faxes this year.

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