Tampa Bay Buccaneers co-chairman Bryan Glazer is optimistic, yet realistic, about the chances of fans returning to Raymond James Stadium this season.
Glazer's team was the only one in the NFL to have all of its home games blacked out last season. Tampa Bay has nationally televised games against Indianapolis and Dallas this season and Glazer hopes fan support will return.
"We're hoping that happens this year," Glazer said Saturday prior to Tampa Bay's night practice at Raymond James Stadium. "Obviously, the economy is still in bad shape in the Tampa Bay area. We're going to continue to move forward."
Glazer's plan is to build though youth.
Tampa Bay has only three players 30 years or older on its roster (Ronde Barber, Earnest Graham and Jeff Faine). The Bucs are building around quarterback Josh Freeman (23), receiver Mike Williams (24), running back LeGarrette Blount (24), defensive tackle Gerald McCoy (23), defensive end Adrian Clayborn (23) and defensive end Da'Quan Bowers (21).
In addition, Tampa Bay recently re-signed right guard Davin Joseph (27), right tackle Jeremy Trueblood (28), linebacker Quincy Black (27) and special teams standout Adam Hayward (27) from a team that went 10-6 last season.
"I think they saw what happened at the end of last year," Glazer said. "There are some people waiting to see what happens this year, but the plan continues to roll along and each day more and more people buy into it."
Individual tickets for Bucs games went on sale Friday, and while Glazer didn't address specifics, he said Tampa Bay's economy remains an issue.
"There is an increase, obviously, in the popularity of the team," Glazer said. "There's still a ways to go. The economy is still in the same situation it has been and we still have tickets to sell."