Own The Moment. Own The Tickets.
If you live anywhere near the Tampa Bay Area, you have most likely been bombarded recently by commercials bearing this slogan. Yes, the time has officially come for Malcolm Glazer and friends to tuck their tails in between their legs and begin begging people to buy season tickets, a peculiar task once reserved for the baseball team across the Howard Frankland Bridge.
After roughly a decade of ticket sales coming easily, the mixture of a shoddy team outlook and extremely high prices has finally caught up with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
After all, this is the team that, as recently as 2007, flaunted its 145,000 person season ticket waiting list all around town in a Boratesque "You will never get this!" manner. This is the team that once used a lackluster 9-7 season and first round playoff exit as a reason to significantly hike up ticket prices on every seat in Raymond James Stadium. Our family season tickets are now $100 per seat, but who's counting.
A trip to the Buccaneers website now is a much more "please come watch us play" experience. There are half-season ticket packages, youth ticket pricing, and no long-term contracts. When did Oren Koules and Stu Sternberg team up to take over the Buccaneer ticketing department?
The logical question that most will ask is where did the 145,000 fans that were just dying to get a chance to see their Bucs go? To answer that, you must first assume that that figure is an artificially enhanced one and that the number was manufactured for marketing reasons.
Then you have to look at the obvious. The economy is bad, the team taking the field is very questionable, and the Glazers are not exactly known around town as the most endearing people to fans.
Their cheap ways have agitated many fans and caused many to discard their season tickets. Bucs season tickets have been in my family since 1976 and the times in which the long-term season ticket holders have been mistreated by ownership are numerous.
With many fans in doubt and local blackout threats already making the news, this may be the year that humbles the Glazers' outlook on the franchise. They have slid by in recent years but this could be the first time that they are truly in over their heads.
Attendance may not be good and, if the team is not performing, it will be worse.
There is definitely a new smell sweeping across Tampa for the Bucs and their executives and it is not a pleasant one.
How much longer until $1 hot dog days?