TAMPA, Fla. - The Tampa Bay Bucs played in their season opener today, but nobody here in the Bay area was able to watch it. The team didn't sell the required number of tickets, 85% of it's seats, to avoid a blackout. The league blacked out the game within a 75 mile radius.
Derek Busciglio is a big Bucs fan and he says the blackout is a big let-down.
"I think it's very difficult to build a fan base when you don't have games on TV. There's a lot of people who have no idea what they're missing because they never go to the games," Busciglio said.
But Johnnie Mahan didn't miss a snap today. He's a season ticket holder and went to the game, but still feels for fellow fans who didn't see the Bucs in action.
"I wish that the NFL would lower the 80 percent tickets sold out or whatever to let everyone watch the game at home," Mahan said.
Todd Minichilli is also a Bucs fan.
"It's unfortunate you know. I think it's too bad because they can't market it to the local fans and people don't know what's going on. But i hope that the victory and they play the Redskins next. It's their next home game so hopefully they'll sell out for that," he said.
Despite the blackout, managers at the Brick House Tavern and Tap on Dale Mabry, in Tampa, say they're seeing green. They say business tripled today compared to a regular Sunday. They expected around 2,000 people to come through their doors.
"We have so many fans from all over the country that everybody's happy watching other games as well. So we're just as busy with or without it. We'd be doing great if they'd put it on. It would probably stimulate more interest in the Bucs," manager Nikki Sparbeck said.
The Bucs have added incentives for fans to buy tickets, like reducing prices and creating half-season ticket plans.
The Bucs only sold out two games last year.
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