Last Sunday's game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium has apparently not fueled the appetite of football fans in the Tampa area.
The match was the least used match in eight years, attracting only 40,682 spectators at the stadium, which can accommodate 65,618 regularly and be extended to 75,000 spectators for major events.
According to Rick Stroud of Tampa Bay Times, the Buccaneers responded by offering a limited number of free tickets to season pass holders for Sunday's game against the Carolina Panthers. The team sent e-mails to ticket holders on Wednesday announcing ticket availability on a first-come, first-served basis.
"Arrive early so the party begins and the Panthers know it's our home," reads De Stroud in the email.
The Buccaneers have the third lowest NFL turnout this season, behind the Cincinnati Bengals and Los Angeles Chargers, who play in the league's smallest stadium as a temporary home. The game against the 49ers was the least-attended home match as only 39,781 spectators attended a game against the Panthers in 2010. The Panthers would finish the season 2-14 with the Buccaneers with a record of 10-6 but will miss the playoffs.
"We have always looked for ways to improve the fan experience, and this offer is just another example of our desire to bring added value to the members of our season subscriptions, "said Brian Ford, chief operating officer of Bucs.
"We have made similar offers over the years and the vacation seemed like a great opportunity to thank our loyal members of the season package with a unique opportunity like this one."