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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs avoid blackout for home opener against Saints

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Published:   |   Updated: September 13, 2013 at 01:28 AM

TAMPA — The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be back on local TV this week.

The Bucs announced on Thursday they sold the requisite number of tickets to lift the local TV blackout for their home opener against the New Orleans Saints at Raymond James Stadium on Sunday.

The Bucs were blacked out for 19 of their previous 23 regular-season games at RJS because of insufficient ticket sales, including six of eight home games last year.

For the second year, Tampa Bay is taking advantage of an NFL rule allowing teams to lower the sellout threshold to 85 percent of non-premium seats. To avoid a blackout, a game must be sold out 72 hours before kickoff.

Team officials expressed confidence early in the preseason that more games would be available on local TV this season, the second under head coach Greg Schiano.

“Throughout the whole community, people are very excited about this team,'' Bucs co-chairman Bryan Glazer said recently. “They see the moves we've made, and it's reflective in some of the ticket sales.''

For the second 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.

The Bucs got off to a bad start last week, losing 18-17 to the New York Jets in a game in which they were penalized 13 times, including one that helped set up the Jets' winning field goal with two seconds to play.

rcummings@tampatrib.com

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Twitter: @RCummingsTBO

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