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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

No blackout: Bucs-Saints on TV in Tampa market

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Published:   |   Updated: March 18, 2013 at 06:02 PM

TAMPA The Tampa Bay Buccaneers game against the New Orleans Saints on Sunday will be televised in the Tampa market.

The Bucs sold the required 85 percent of general admission tickets necessary to avoid a local TV blackout of the 1 p.m. at Raymond James Stadium, the team announced Thursday.

The broadcast, which will air locally on Channel 13 and feature former Bucs safety John Lynch as analyst, marks the fist time this season a Tampa Bay home game has not been blacked out.

"We're pleased to have reached the 85 percent of general admission seats needed for local broadcast of this Sunday's game versus the New Orleans Saints,'' Brian Ford, the team's vice president of business administration, said in a statement.

Tickets for the NFC South showdown between the Bucs (2-3) and Saints (1-4) are still available, with prices starting at $30, at www.Buccaneers.com, through the Ticketmaster app or by calling (800) 745-3000.

The Bucs failed sell out each of their first three regular-season home games this season and 16 of their previous 18 at 65,908-seat Raymond James Stadium.

The team had a busy offseason, taking several steps to draw fans back to RJS, which sold out just two of seven Bucs games it hosted in 2011. After struggling through a 4-12 season in 2011 that ended with a 10-game losing streak, Tampa Bay fired head coach Raheem Morris and hired Greg Schiano, the former coach at Rutgers University.

Schiano made it a goal to change the culture of the organization, which has reached out directly to its ticket-buying public to attract old fans as well as new ones. The Bucs reduced the prices on 80-percent of their tickets, introduced a half-season ticket plan and incorporated a 12-month payment option for season-ticket buyers.

The Bucs also were the first NFL team to adopt the league's new 85-percent rule, which allows clubs to declare a sellout and avoid a local TV blackout if 85-percent of all non-premium seats are sold 72 hours before kickoff.

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