Bucs avoid blackout - FOX 13 News

Bucs avoid blackout

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

It's certainly no secret the Bucs have had issues filling Raymond James Stadium in recent years, and that has meant no home games on local TV.

It's a sore subject for many fans.

"I think every week we should have the Bucs on, I think it's terrible that we don't," said Bucs season ticket holder Doug Rumsey.

When the Bucs hit the field Sunday, they'll be working hard to march the Saints out of Tampa with a loss, and they'll do it in front of fans inside Raymond James Stadium and across the region.

For the first time this season and since last December against the Dallas Cowboys, the Bucs game will not be blacked out on local TV sets -- and fans are thrilled.

"I'm very happy, I don't have tickets this weekend so I'm very happy," said Bucs fan Jim Flannery.

That said, the game isn't a sellout. Before this season, the NFL tweaked their blackout policy. Instead of requiring a sellout, teams could opt in to a policy that would allow the games to be shown locally if the team sold 85 percent of their tickets.

The Bucs are one of just a few NFL teams to use the 85 percent rule. Fans hope this is a step in the right direction towards filling "Ray Jay" regularly.

"If it's not on TV, you don't get the publicity and the interest to get people back out to the stadium to actually want to buy tickets," Flannery observed.

But how do fans who go to the games every week feel about everyone else getting free football?

Russ Richert is a long time Bucs season ticket holder.

He says even though he's made the financial commitment to see the team, he understands how a tough economy has kept others away.

"I know there's a lot of fans out there that would really like to be able to watch the game that aren't in a situation because they haven't been selling out. So I have mixed emotions about it," Richert said.

For one week, Buccaneer football is back on TV in the Tampa Bay region, and fans hope it's a sign of things to come.

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