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Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Blackouts to be common in Tampa Bay?

By Pat Yasinskas
ESPN.com

ORLANDO, Fla. -- The Tampa Bay Buccaneers could be facing local television blackouts for the first time since moving into Raymond James Stadium, team co-chairman Joel Glazer said Wednesday morning.

The real surprise here is that it didn’t happen last year. The Bucs sold out all their home games during a 3-13 season, but there often were lots of empty seats, leading to speculation that the team bought up many unsold tickets to avoid blackouts.

Tampa Bay fans have been a bit spoiled in recent times because the team has been a winner through much of the Tony Dungy and Jon Gruden eras. But blackouts aren’t anything new in Tampa Bay. During some miserable seasons in the old Tampa Stadium, it wasn’t uncommon for the Buccaneers to draw only 30,000 to 40,000 fans.

There’s a simple lesson to be taken from Tampa Bay’s history. If you don’t want blackouts, you have to win games.