The Bucs are going overseas. And they're taking the Patriots with them.
The Bucs and Patriots have been chosen by the NFL to play a regular-season game in London next year on Oct. 25. It is a Bucs home game, but it will be played at Wembley Stadium at 1 p.m. EST.
For Tampa Bay season-ticket holders, the 2009 package of Raymond James Stadium tickets will reflect the London game, meaning it will include seven regular-season games -- one less than usual -- Bucs general manager Bruce Allen said Monday.
Allen said the Buccaneers are pleased to go to England and excited about facing one of the AFC's premier teams.
"We couldn't schedule Wichita State because they're not in our league,'' Allen said. "But these are two of the premier franchises in the NFL. It should be a great game.''
"The Tampa Bay Buccaneers organization is extremely excited and honored to be chosen to participate in the NFL International Series,'' Bucs executive vice president Joel Glazer said. "We look forward to being part of the NFL's global outreach and playing our great game in front of Buccaneers fans overseas.''
At least 300 such Bucs fans live in and around London and have been part of a booster club that has been in existence for 24 years. The game will come as the Bucs' booster club in the United Kingdom celebrates its 25th anniversary, club president Paul Stewart said.
"This is fantastic news for Buccaneers fans here in the U.K.,'' Stewart told The Tampa Tribune. "Next year will be the 25th anniversary of the Bucs' U.K. booster club, and what better way to celebrate than to see the Bucs playing on this side of the Atlantic. I think all 300 members of the club will be clamouring for tickets in the next few hours."
This will mark the third straight season the NFL has played a regular-season game in London.
"Over the past years we have seen firsthand the excitement that exists for our sport in the U.K.,'' NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said. "The games have helped us to deepen out connection with our U.K. fans as well as create new ones. We are looking forward to another outstanding game in 2009.''