With the recent news that quarterback Tom Brady had changed his mind about retiring and would return for the 2022 NFL season, ticket demand for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers understandably got a lot stronger. The team has decided to weaponize that demand, announcing that any new season ticket purchasers would have to commit to those tickets for a minimum of two years.
News of the fan cash grab from the team broke over the weekend, when fans on the season ticket waitlist in Tampa were emailed the news. The team is also requiring proof of Florida residency for anyone who purchases lower level seats at Raymond James Stadium.
Bucs are requiring a two year commitment for new season pass members. Smart if you think Tom Brady may play one more season. Also must have FL driver’s to purchase tix in lower bowl pic.twitter.com/BRbKs7zFFP
— Rick Stroud (@NFLSTROUD) March 19, 2022
Following Brady’s landing with the Bucs after his long tenure with the New England Patriots, Tampa Bay quickly raised season ticket prices on fans amid the increased demand for tickets. The team captured the Super Bowl in 2021, winning the title on their home field a year before the Rams duplicated that feat, which had never been done before. Following that, the team reportedly had zero season ticket availability for those on the waitlist leading into the fall of 2021, but Brady’s retirement announcement must have made a dent in the renewal rate before he changed his mind weeks later.
The team insists that the requirement of a two-year commitment is about ensuring access to tickets for those in the area, rather than visiting fans or those who would purchase seats specifically with ticket resale in mind.
“One of our primary objectives as we go into each season is finding ways to create the best homefield advantage for our team. We want to provide loyal Buccaneers fans with the best opportunity to purchase the very limited number of seats that are available,’’ Bucs Chief Operating Officer Brian Ford said in a statement. “We pride ourselves on delivering the best gameday experience in the league and our fans are essential to that success. These additional ticket policies, as well as providing our no-interest 24 month payment plan, have been put into place to ensure that our true fans have the best options available for season pass memberships.”
Ultimately, the team is free to sell tickets as it wishes – snagging two years worth of season ticket payments from its fans who otherwise might cancel those season tickets if Brady decides to retire after the coming season doesn’t break any laws. But it does come as a stark reminder that teams often say they are all-in for their fans, but shamelessly take every opportunity to fleece them when they arise. Mike Florio of NBC’s Pro Football Talk referred to the move as “the latest example of the manner in which pro football will try to separate people from their money.”
It’s a clear acknowledgement that the Bucs know they most likely will have Tom Brady for only one more year, and that by next year the demand for season tickets would reflect whoever the quarterback not named Tom Brady is.
Is it fair? It is right? It doesn’t matter. The Buccaneers have the right to attach the condition, and the customer has the right to say, “No thanks.” The Bucs are banking that few will.
Again, it’s a business. And the Bucs are exercising what they regard as good business sense.