Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Odds & Ends: Bucs Blackouts & Glazers' Bucks

On Tuesday, the Tampa Sports Authority unanimously rejected the Bucs' bid to keep $12 million in unused tax funds from going back to local governments. The board ruled the team, which was promised the money for a practice complex back in 1996, lost its right to the funds by not claiming it for 16 years. The Bucs didn't like the decision, but it's a small - and rare - victory for taxpayers over a sports team.

Meanwhile, the Glazers aren't exactly hurting for money after their Manchester United IPO raised something like $200 million without giving up any real voting stake in the club. In fact, they may not mind having billionare George Soros buy up a huge chunk of the stock - with his other Tampa connections, they'll have no trouble talking business at the next Harbour Island barbeque.

Finally, all of the Bucs' preseason blackouts reinforce the point that the league's new 85% blackout threshold was no concession at all. The NFL still sends the message that it would rather make fans buy tickets to see their favorite teams than allow them to watch on TV for free. All the 85% rule does is acknowledge there isn't quite the demand for tickets there used to be.

And team owners, who could always lower the price of tickets, are sending a similar message that they'd rather sell 40,000 tickets at $40/each than 60,000 tickets at $20/each. No concession at all.

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