The problem with the blackouts
Whilst many Bucs UK members were logging on to GamePass for the first time in earnest this season, many people across the Tampa Bay area had no real chance of watching the Buccaneers to play the Lions last Sunday at Raymond James Stadium.
Well that's not exactly true of course. They could have joined the 51,274 other folks in the seats watching the game live. But because this total did not meet the capacity of the stadium, then the game was blacked out within a 70-mile radius of RJS.
The rules behind the blackout situation date back to Pete Rozelle's days as Commissioner of the NFL. With the advent of television coming into the game in the 1960s, owners were quite rightly worried about losing gate attendance which was a far higher percentage of revenues in that day and hence instigated no live local television coverage if the game did not sell out 72 hours before hand.
The theory behind this rule is a sound one. And to be honest, I think it still holds true today. The only change in the situation has been the arrival of the internet and all those dodgy sites offering live feeds of games, many of which will also corrupt the data on your PC if you are crazy enough to download unsolicited software.
It is easy for British Buccaneer fans to get cynical about a local blackout. When we pay the amount we do just to come to Tampa for a vacation, then the price of a game ticket becomes pretty incidental after we have dropped a bundle on merchandise in the days leading up to the game.
But we have our own kind of blackout this week as unless you have Sky Sports, then you are stuffed too as NFL GamePass will not work live for the Bucs v Vikings. Again, Sky have paid for the NFL rights in this country and feel obliged to insist on this kind of restriction.
So for British fans this week, and Tampa fans last week, your choices are down to trying to go a few hours without knowing the score and then watching it on your alternative means, or stumping up the readies for the companies in control of the coverage.
But when it comes to tickets at RJS, then I am totally behind the current format. If you want to see your Tampa Bay Buccaneers play, then buy a ticket and go to the game. If you can't afford it, then sorry but this is the real world. It's tough yes, but there is no such thing as a free lunch as one famous American once told us.
Jacksonville blocked out a few thousand of their seats at All-Tel stadium a couple of years back to try and avoid the blackout rule. But this has to be done for the start of the season and remain in place for the entire season.
And as for the ridiculous message board suggestions in a few places that the Glazers should pay for the 14,000 other seats themselves just so a bunch of so-called fans can watch the game at home on their TVs, well sorry but you might as well hope for the moon to be made of green cheese. No-one in their right mind is going to ever do that. A few hundred yes, but 14,000?
I fully appreciate that the Tampa area has seen some bad economic times recently and money is tight, then you prioritise what you spend on. And NFL tickets would come under the category of a luxury. Ticket prices have been reduced significantly and to be honest, the sort of people who complain would probably do so if they were $5 each and a limo was arranged to drive them to and from the game.
So the blackouts will continue. I am more concerned about the lack of atmosphere in RJS as home field advantage can be huge to a team. But in my eyes, the current NFL rules, the ones that the Buccaneer ownership has to follow whether they like them or not, should remain in place for the foreseeable future.
You've been great, enjoy Johnny hates Jazz.