Yesterday, the Mrs. and I spent a fall afternoon in the new-Big Sombrero. We had plenty of room to stretch out. With all the television blackouts, I really had no idea how close the Bucs came to selling out their first 5 home games(including both pre-season games). On Sunday, they weren’t close at all.
Based on my own estimation, the upper-deck was about 1/3 full, the lower bowl was 3/4 full, and the club section appears to have been closed or something.
This led the Mrs. to ask the obvious question: is anyone asking if the Bucs are going to move to another city?
I mean, they are 6-3. They have a great shot at the playoffs. They are a young, exciting, athletic team that has come out of nowhere to be near the top of the league.
So why no rumors of a move? Why isn’t anyone saying that Tampa Bay simply cannot support a NFL franchise? Where is Commissioner Goodell to goose the local fans?
Simple. The franchise has been here long enough to prove that a loyal fan base exists and simple economics are limiting their current revenue. Also, the team has already used up its threat to move (remember the Los Angeles Spidermen? They even had a uniform design but I can’t find it on the web) and got a new stadium for its efforts.
The Rays story will follow the same path. Someday, 15 years from now(yes, I just knocked on wood), we will have prove that this is, in fact, a baseball town and all the early hand wringing was for naught. Just give the franchise some time to grow a fan base and the rest will fall into place.