The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are having trouble filling their stadium this season, and according to several fans and industry insiders, the team’s anti-broker tactics are fueling the lack of attendance.
Multiple ticket brokers have commented that when the team was doing poorly, their sales staff looked the other way when brokers purchased season memberships – at that point, any sales were welcome. However, when the team was on a winning-streak and had a successful run, they opted to reverse course and begin voiding accounts of known brokers and refusing to sell them tickets.
Now, the team is struggling again. SportsBusiness Daily reported that the venue remained at only 80- percent capacity for the game against the Panthers earlier this month with 52,568 people at the 65,618-seat Raymond James Stadium. Even when the Bucs offered two free tickets to every season-ticket holder, it wasn’t enough to fill the stands.
A Bucs fan, Bryant Junco, has been a resident in Tampa for years and during his first year as a season ticket-holder, had no problem reselling some of his tickets. He said that a representative knew he was a reseller and although he notified Junco of the zero tolerance policy, he didn’t pursue any punitive action.
This year, Junco received six complimentary tickets from his ticket representative. When he went to pick up tickets at the will call window, a Tampa police officer, who recognized Junco from the previous year, snatched his tickets out of his hands, accusing him of trying to sell them. The officer then advised Junco that he would be banned for one year from the stadium and all Tampa Bay sports authorities facilities.
“A person should NOT be treated as a criminal for attempting to sell a ticket because “junior” got sick and could not attend the game,” Junco said.
According to a source, who wished to remain anonymous, this battle against brokers has been ongoing. The source, who is a season ticket holder and is familiar with the business model that the ticket staff put in place, said that the Bucs started working with a consolidator and have since been gathering sales data on the secondary market. The team sells a number of tickets and then funnels the rest through the consolidated market, leaving no room for independent brokers to operate.
He said the Bucs’ ticket staff is trained to keep brokers out. They typically ask different questions to sift through brokers, asking who accompanies the buyer to games and in-depth questions about their purchase. If your account shows multiple transfers, the staff will pull your tickets and orders will be cancelled if purchased from out-of-state, the season ticket-holder said.
“In my opinion, they spend as much time trying to train and teach their employees to keep brokers out than they do actually selling their product,” he said. “Their product isn’t selling because they’re trying to spend all their time keeping people from buying their product.”
Both season ticket-holders agree that fan attendance plummeted once the team put these measures into place.
“If you’re sitting in Orlando at your house, thinking about going to the Bucs game in Tampa, in your previous experience you know you can go to the stadium and get tickets cheap off somebody, but that’s not the case anymore,” Bryant said. “They’re participating in all these restrictive ticket practices.”
Ticket News has reached out to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Sales Team for comment. At press time, we have not received a response.