Blackout lifted for Buccaneers-Saints

For the first time since last December, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will have a home game televised locally.

The Bucs just announced they have reached the necessary threshold to lift the television blackout for Sunday’s game with the New Orleans Saints at Raymond James Stadium. But that doesn’t mean the game is a complete sellout.

“We’re pleased to have reached the 85% of general admission seats needed for local broadcast of this Sunday’s game versus the New Orleans Saints, which leaves us with the remaining 15 percent of tickets (starting at $30) available for this exciting divisional showdown,” vice president of business administration Brian Ford said.

The Bucs are one of a handful of teams to elect to use 85 percent of general-admission seating as their threshold for a sellout.

The last home game the Bucs sold out was Dec. 17 of last year against Dallas. They also sold out a game last season with the Indianapolis Colts. But those were the only two games (including preseason) that were televised locally since the start of the 2010 season.

Is this a sign that fans are starting to warm up to new coach Greg Schiano and his new team? I think that’s part of it. Last week’s impressive victory against Kansas City Chiefs had to help some at the box office. I think the Saints also are a drawing card. Although New Orleans isn’t off to a good start, the Saints still are a popular team with a large amount of fans in the Tampa Bay area.