The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be making a rare appearance on TV this weekend. Thursday afternoon, the team announced that enough tickets have been purchased for the home opener against the Saints.
With sluggish ticket sales, the Bucs have had more games blacked out than shown on local TV over the last few seasons.
The NFL imposes local blackouts if home teams don't sell at least 85 percent of the seats by 72 hours before kickoff.
The Buccaneers did not say how many tickets have been sold for Sunday, just that "ticket sales have reached the mandatory threshold for the game to be shown locally."
The lifting of the blackout is a strong sign that the Bucs are creating more of a buzz in the community. Team ownership has gone out and spent millions on free agent players such as Darrelle Revis and Dashon Goldson.
Players have also been a bigger part of community events, and there is a higher level of hope that the Bucs could have a solid season (even after the meltdown in the Jets game.)
Now, the Bucs have to keep the momentum going by pulling out a win on Sunday against the Saints -- not an easy challenge, but definitely possible.
The struggle to fill seats
The team struggles with filling up "Ray Jay" have been chronicled for years.
The result has been a lion's share of their home games being blacked out on local TV, leaving fans furious.
"They should sell out every game," said Bucs fan Todd Smith.
That won't be a problem Sunday.
Thursday the team announced they have sold enough tickets to ensure the home opener against the New Orleans Saints will be shown on local TV.
"I think it's a great thing, I mean it's the first time since December," said Bucs fan Addison Murphy.
"I think it's awesome," said Bucs fan Cassandra Howard.
Off the field, the marketing department cranks it up
While the team was working hard on the field preparing for the season, it appears the team's marketing department was working just as hard off the field.
Banners advertising the team are common place outside the stadium and on Dale Mabry.
This year they've branched out a bit, advertising the "Bucs Life" in Channelside.
They've also sent mailers out promoting the home opener.
"I really appreciate the management actually taking this step in the past I wondered why we didn't," said Murphy.
Saints fans help the sellout happen
Some say marketing has nothing to do with it, they point to something else.
The last Bucs sellout was against the very team they play this week.
Skeptics say it's not marketing, it's die-hard Saints fans buying up tickets and enjoying that famous Florida hospitality.
"Tampa Bay fans are the best fans in the country, they are very nice to us," said Saints fan Scott Low.
Whatever the reason, Ray Jay will be rocking on Sunday and those sitting at home will actually be able to join in on the fun for a change.
"I really didn't think that we would get a sellout the whole season," said Murphy.
Here is our Sunday lineup: We get it cranked up at 11:30am with Tailgate Sunday, Chip Carter along with former Bucs Jorge Diaz and Ricky Reynolds give you and inside look at the game.
Fox's NFL Sunday starts straight up at noon and then of course at 4pm it's the Saints and Bucs all of it on Fox 13.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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