Well, by now most of you have heard that the Bucs have lowered the season ticket prices, which I feel is something that the Bucs owe the fans considering the current decade-plus of bad football as well as lack of playoffs. Let me ask you this: is the lack of attendance really only because they are losing or has TV made football a better viewing experience? I have been at RJS two of the last three years, so I have experienced the changes. I was also there when it opened in the late 90’s.
I feel that the viewing experience on TV is better than the viewing experience at RJS even with the improvements to the stadium. Why do I think that? Let’s examine TV and the technology that changes every six months. The cost of these TVs year after year become cheaper and cheaper with the improvements in HD, 3D and 4K. At Costco last night they had a 70-inch 4K TV for less than 700 dollars. That’s cheaper than season tickets. The picture is amazing, and the camera work done by the networks makes it so easy to follow the game. They have cameras over the field, the pylon, on referees and on the sidelines. The networks make sure you miss nothing with all the angles they cover.
The other key factor is fantasy football. What’s everyone doing on Sunday while watching the Bucs games? We are all watching our fantasy football teams, and with the NFL Sunday Ticket you can program your lineup so you get instant updates while watching the Bucs games. That is hard to do at RJS, and fantasy football is played by everyone. If you don’t play fantasy football you are in the minority of NFL fans.
So at Raymond James Stadium, which lately has been nicknamed the Den of Depression, the fan experience—and I am not talking about the product on the field—is just not as good as sitting at home. If you want shade at the stadium, good luck unless you have West Clubs or want to hang out in the walkway under the seats. Those who sit on the east side of the stadium, you are crazy. That’s like sitting under a heat lamp. Brent Allen from the Pewter Cast looks like a lobster after every day’s game in his east side seats. Even in November it happens to him.
At home I don’t have to worry about getting sunburned, heat stroke or someone blocking my vision of the game because the TV is inside in a comfortable area. I think if they had to do it over again a dome would have been a better call than RJS. It would make for a better experience during those early season games.
The last thing that makes the home experience even better is that the beer is much cheaper, colder and of better variety at home. The bathroom line also is shorter, and unless my kids have made a mess, it’s cleaner.
I will be on the road to see the Bucs 2-3 times this season. The experience with Bucs fans is amazing, and I love meeting so many of you on the road. But I want to be honest with all of you—the overall experience at home on my flat screen is undefeated.