It’s official: Bucs-Browns will be blacked out

September 10th, 2010 by Staff

Source: TBO — It’s official: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers regular-season opener Sunday against the Cleveland Browns won’t be televised locally, and will be the only NFL game blacked out for its season home opener.

The game at Raymond James Stadium, scheduled for regional telecast at 1 p.m. on CBS, had to be sold out 72 hours before kickoff for the blackout to be lifted, per NFL rules.

That didn’t happen.

That means anyone wanting to see the Bucs game live has only a couple options: buy a ticket or drive beyond the 75-mile blackout radius required by the league.

The 10-county blackout area is centered in Hillsborough and Pinellas, but runs along the state’s west coast from Citrus to Sarasota counties and also includes Polk, Highlands and parts of Orlando.

The game will not be available live in any sports bars or on DirectTV Sunday Ticket, NFL.com or a mobile device inside the blackout zone, the Bucs said in a news release.

The game can be heard on the radio on WDAE, 620 AM, or WFUS, 103.5 FM and other affiliates on the team’s radio network. The radio broadcast may also be heard on Sirius 158 and XM 106.

Local CBS affiliate WTSP, Channel 10, is scheduled to show the Miami Dolphins-Buffalo Bills game in the Bucs-Browns 1 p.m. time slot.

NFL.com will offer a delayed broadcast of the game for free beginning at midnight Sunday. The website makes rebroadcasts for all games available on its Game Rewind package, an on-demand, subscription service. However, games blacked out locally are available for free in affected home markets.

The last time a Bucs regular-season home game wasn’t shown on local television was a 10-6 loss to the Minnesota Vikings on Oct. 26, 1997. That game was played at 72,000-seat Houlihan’s Stadium (Tampa Stadium).

Every other NFL game will be televised live in its home market. Tickets remain for the St. Louis Rams’ game against the Arizona Cardinals, however, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that enough tickets were sold to lift the blackout.

Even the Jacksonville Jaguars, who were forced to black out nine of 10 homes games last season, were able to lift the blackout for this Sunday’s opener against the Denver Broncos, who drafted hometown product and Florida Gators star Tim Tebow in April.

Since March, Bucs management has brought up the possibility of blackouts after last season’s 3-13 record. A struggling Florida economy and uneasiness about the team’s direction have contributed to the lack of ticket sales.

Ticket sales for the Browns game continue a recent trend: Both of the Bucs’ preseason home games were blacked out live in the local market and shown on tape delay the following morning. No taped broadcasts are scheduled for regular-season games, however.

There were 22 blackouts leaguewide last season. Cities affected were Jacksonville, Kansas City, Oakland, Detroit and St. Louis.


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