The anticipation for Buccaneers fans to see the new look Buccaneers led by Tom Brady will have to wait - at least, in person.
Per Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times, the Buccaneers will not allow fans inside Raymond James Stadium for at least the first two home games due to continued concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic. This means that the first opportunity Bucs fans may have to witness a game in person - in a limited capacity, of course - would be week six against the Green Bay Packers on October 18.
Brian Ford, the Bucs’ COO, said to season ticket holders in an open letter it’s “not yet the right time,” to allow fans in even at a limited capacity.
Bucs will not have any fans in the stands for their first two home games, Bucs’ Brian Ford says in letter to season-ticket holders. “Not yet the right time” to have even limited-capacity attendance in Tampa.— Greg Auman (@gregauman) September 2, 2020
Per Greg Auman of The Athletic, the renovations at Ray Jay to accommodate fans during the COVID-19 pandemic - which is estimated at $10 million - are targeted to be ready at the end of October, putting the Packers game in jeopardy as well.
The budgeting for the $10 million in federal funding to retrofit Raymond James Stadium to accommodate fans during COVID-19 had referenced the end of October as the target date to finish the first phase of their plan, so this would have first home game with fans closer to that.— Greg Auman (@gregauman) September 2, 2020
Ultimately, it will be disappointing for those who wished to be in the stadium for Tom Brady’s debut as a Buc, but having to sit home and watch it on television is a far better alternative than no season happening at all.
We’ve seen the success of the NBA and NHL in their respective bubbles while the MLB had issues early on in their season with positive tests. The NFL is going to do all they can to ensure that we not only get a season but that there won’t be an outbreak that puts the season in jeopardy. Restricting fan attendance may be an unfortunate side effect of this focus on health, but again - it’s better than getting no season at all after all the improvements the Buccaneers made this off-season.