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Bucs ticket woes don’t surprise Polian

Posted Aug 8, 2012 by Ira Kaufman

Updated Aug 8, 2012 at 01:29 PM

BY IRA KAUFMAN

TAMPA—The recent struggle to fill Raymond James Stadium on fall Sundays comes as no surprise to Bill Polian.

The longtime executive with the Bills, Panthers and Colts attended a recent Buccaneers practice in his new role as an NFL analyst for Sirius Radio. The stands were packed with fans watching training camp, but Polian is aware of Tampa Bay’s recent difficulties in avoiding home blackouts.

“This state has been hit as hard as any in the nation and the team’s been up-and-down,’’ Polian said. “They haven’t established an identity as compared to the old Bucs. But if they win, people will come back. This is a football town—and it always has been. You have to realize the economy is very tough and this is a relatively small market.’‘

The Bucs have ramped up their marketing efforts and co-chairman Bryan Glazer said ticket sales have been encouraging. Tampa Bay spent freely during free agency, taking a far more active role in adding veteran players to a young core.

As president of the Colts, Polian has had an opportunity to observe the Glazers at league meetings.

“They’re good guys,’’ he said. “They are very savvy businessmen who care about sports and care about the Buccaneers. Those guys are very impressive at NFL meetings, where people pay a lot of attention to what they have to say. They’re not out front, like some NFL owners, but they have a voice. All you have to do is look at this facility and that stadium across the way to realize they’re doing things right in Tampa.’‘

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