What will put people back in the stands?

Dungy was not a big name, nor did he bring any. What he did bring however, were 'corners'.

For the answer, you need to only look back at recent, and ancient (as some would call this author) history of the Bucs and their two stadiums to see what trends have occurred past. Keep in mind that Tampa Bay is an area that has mostly existed as a home of transplants; people who have moved down from Michigan, Wisconsin, Chicago or New York. But even with that mixed heritage even the Bucs of 0-26 fame drew over 50,000 to the ire of former Dolphins owner Joe Robbie. He told Hugh Culverhouse, Bucs first owner, that the Bucs would be a huge financial success. But he had no idea they would out draw his Dolphins who had a winning team in the 1976 and 1977 season. 

The enthusiasm of those first Bucs fans has really fed the Bay Area for generations, and even in our worst days since, attendence has been recoverable, and bearable in its worst times.

Consider this: In 1995 when the referendum was put to tax payers to raise taxes to save the Bucs, that Tampa Bay was saved their franchise, when the likes of Cleveland, Los Angeles, and Houston could not. The Browns were a premier franchise in the NFL, yet that did not save them from losing football for several years. The Rams had been home in Los Angeles to big crowds in the LA Colliseum, but when they went through losing years, could not support the team. The Oilers, same story, as they would play to sometimes only 8,000 fans in the Astrodome. The Cardinals when they left St. Louis would play to even less, as would the Colts before they left Baltimore. There is just no excuse to put only 7,000 fans in an NFL stadium, and yet thats what these teams faced. The Bucs however, even in their worst seasons, would put 32,000 on a bad day. 

Tony Dungy has a whole chapter where he talks about corners. He used to look up at the corners of the stadium, because he was told that is where he would see the difference when it happened. The corners are the last place anyone goes to sit. The Bucs went into a little win streak to end the 1996 season, and came out in 1997 with their new pewter gear. By week 3, the Bucs were 3-0 and hosting a nationally televised game against the MIami Dolphins. Dungy looked up, the corners were filled. 

So its not that hard to see that winning will be what puts the fans back in the stands consistently. They stayed there for the better part of the decade. Adding a fantastic player creates some buzz in the offseason. Same with a big name coach; it has a good feel to it, and boosts whatever it can at the time, which is season ticket sales. Losing the first few games will just do the same to those season ticket holders as the rest of them.

Of course that has nothing to do with guys from the other side. That is all about availability. The reason we no longer had to deal with Packers or Bears patrons, was a simple case of availability. With the selling out of season tickets, there were simply no seats available for enemy fans to pick up.  Enemy fans are more organized than locals, they plan vacations, airlines, hotels, etc. They will pick up the tickets that Bucs fans wont want until maybe Sunday morning is around.  When the season ticket rolls are filled again, you can kiss goodbye the cheeseheads wearing '4', and the many blue Eli 10 Jerseys. So how do we get the season ticket rolls filled up?         

How else but winning? That brings out the season tickets, game day tickets, stub Hub, ebay, they will all be busy with requests, when the wins come.                                        

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