TAMPA — The Tampa Bay Buccaneers' preseason opener against the reigning Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens at Raymond James Stadium on Thursday will be blacked out in the local television market, the team announced Monday evening. The team failed to sell the requisite 85 percent of nonpremium seats by the NFL's deadline, which is 72 hours before kickoff. The game will be shown on tape delay at 7:30 p.m. Friday on WFLA, Channel 8. NFL Network is also scheduled to show the game at 10 a.m. Saturday. In the past three seasons, 19 of 23 regular-season games at Raymond James Stadium were blacked out, as well as all six home preseason games.
The Bucs, who are entering Greg Schiano's second season as head coach, had six of eight regular-season home games blacked out last season during a 7-9 run, but expect fewer blackouts this season. “We're confident that there will be a lot more games on TV than there were last year,'' Bucs co-chairman Bryan Glazer said recently. “Throughout the whole community, people are very excited about this team. They see the moves we've made, and it's reflective in the some of the ticket sales. We have a ways to go but there's been improvement. We're on the right track.” For the second straight year, the Bucs were active in the offseason, trading for four-time Pro Bowl cornerback Darrelle Revis and signing two-time Pro Bowl safety Dashon Goldson. Revis, Goldson and second-round draft pick/cornerback Johnthan Banks were acquired to help a defense that ranked first in the 32-team league against the run but last against the pass in 2012. The Bucs also tweaked an offense that ranked ninth overall, adding receiver Kevin Ogletree and running back Peyton Hillis in free agency and drafting quarterback Mike Glennon in the third round. Combined with holdovers such as running back Doug Martin, wide receiver Vincent Jackson and defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, the offseason moves brought to eight the number of Pro Bowl players on the roster. The Bucs last year were the first NFL team to take advantage of the league's new 85 percent rule, which allows clubs to declare a sellout and lift the local TV blackout if 85 percent of all nonpremium seats are sold 72 hours before kickoff. Tickets for Thursday's game are available at www.buccaneers.com, through the Ticketmaster app or by calling 1-800-745-3000. Prices starts at $30. firstname.lastname@example.org (813) 259-7979 Twitter: @RCummingsTBO