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Desperate Teams Call for Desperate Measures

12 Dec, 2018

By: Michael Popke
At a Loss for Fans in the Stands, Buccaneers Try a New Tactic: Free Tickets

Desperate teams call for desperate measures.

After the Tampa Bay Buccaneers drew the smallest crowd since 2010 to Raymond James Stadium on Nov. 25 — when 40,682 fans showed up to watch the home team beat the San Francisco 49ers, 27-9 — the Bucs gave away tickets to the following week’s game against the Carolina Panthers.

The result? Attendance climbed to 53,568in the 65,618-seat venue. And a 24-17 win gave Tampa Bay a 5-7 record, with four games remaining.

The limited number of tickets were available on a first-come, first serve basis, according to a letter sent to season ticket holders, and fans had to reserve their two freebies by the Thursday before Sunday’s game.

“We have always looked for ways to add to the fan experience, and this offer is just another example of our desire to bring added value to our season pass  members,” Bucs chief operating officer Brian Ford told the Tampa Bay Times, attempting to put a positive spin on the move.“We have made similar offers over the years, and the holiday seemed like a great opportunity to thank our loyal season pass members with a special opportunity like this.

Nevertheless, noted The Charlotte Observer,“Tampa Bay’s attempt to fill its stadium by giving season ticket holders free tickets .... didn’t work. The upper deck at Raymond James Stadium was sparsely populated and the lower bowl wasn’t a heck of a lot better.”

Granted, the Bucs have experienced only one winning season since 2011 and haven’t made the playoffs since 2007. The team also ranks third-worst in the NFL in average attendance this season — behind the Cincinnati Bengals (who earlier this season lost six of seven games) and the Los Angeles Chargers (who play in a soccer stadium) — according to the Times.

What does all of this prove? Even free tickets can’t always make up for putting a bad team on the field.

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