Despite utilizing the NFL's new 85 percent threshold, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers confirmed Tuesday that they failed to sell out Friday night's home preseason game against Tennessee in time to avoid a local blackout.
WTSP (Channel 10) is broadcasting the game from Raymond James Stadium, with ex-Bucs safety John Lynch serving as analyst, but fans in the Bay area market will not be able to view the telecast live beginning at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
The league changed its long-standing blackout policy this year, allowing clubs to avoid blackouts and declare sellouts if 85 percent of non-premium seats are purchased prior to 72 hours before kickoff. Now within that window, the Bucs have failed to reach the threshold.
WTSP said it will air the game on a delay basis three times. At 11:35 p.m. Friday and noon Sunday, the game can be seen on WTSP. The game will also air at 9 a.m. Saturday on WTSP's 10 Weather Now digital channel.
NFL Network is also scheduled to show the game at 10 a.m. Sunday.
The Bucs won their preseason opener 20-7 at Miami last week and face New England on Aug. 24 at Raymond James Stadium before closing out the exhibition slate at Washington Aug. 29.
Preseason games, in general, have not been a big draw league-wide in recent years. The quality of play was among the reasons cited by Commissioner Roger Goodell during the 2011 labor lockout, when NFL owners proposed an 18-game regular season.
In Tampa, 13 of the 15 regular-season games the Bucs played at Raymond James Stadium the past two seasons were blacked out in the Tampa area. The Bucs finished at 85.9 percent capacity in home attendance last season, ranking 27th out of the NFL's 32 teams.