Flynn's Focus: Good for the Glazers

February 23 – After paying a combined $25.5 million for Jon Gruden's services, just over $1 million to fire Tony Dungy and who knows how much to extend general manager Rich McKay's contract, Tampa Bay's owners could have justified an increase in 2002 season ticket prices. But surprisingly, executive vice presidents Joel and Bryan Glazer have announced they will not increase season ticket prices from the 2001 season.

Tampa Bay's owners have taken a lot of heat since the family bought the Buccaneers in 1995, and a lot of it has been justified. But for as much criticism they have taken, the Glazers deserve just as much praise for opting to not raise season tickets prices for the 2002 season.

The price increase would have actually been justified in some people's eyes. After all, the Glazers just spent a combined $25.5 million on head coach Jon, just over $1 million by firing Tony Dungy and an unknown, but likely high dollar amount in order to sign general manager Rich McKay to a six-year contract extension.

Let's just say the Glazers decided to raise season ticket prices this year. Sure, you could become disgruntled and make a point by not renewing, but according the Buccaneers, there are about 30,000 other Pewter Pirate fans that are eager for you to give up your seat. They're on the team's season ticket waiting list.

Sure, the Glazers have not been saints, but this decision could really go a long way in terms of rebuilding their reputation. They've said all along that they make decisions regarding their franchise with the fans first and foremost in their minds, and choosing not to raise season ticket prices supports those sentiments.

Before we pat the Glazers on the back too much, let's see how much the beer, soda, water, hotdog, pretzel, peanuts and cotton candy prices are in August when the Buccaneers start playing preseason games at Raymond James Stadium.

Not only have the Glazers not raised season ticket prices, but according to Gruden, they're finally seriously looking into building a new practice facility to replace One Buccaneer Place.

"Well, it's very important," Gruden said when asked about the need for a new training facility. "I think as you look around the NFL and you see some of the creative facilities that are being put together, it's impressive. I have talked with Joel and Bryan Glazer about that, a new facility for the Buccaneers. It's easier for a coach to say, 'lets get a facility' than it really is. There are a lot of difficulties in getting land. The zoning and the ordinances and things of that nature are very difficult. I've been told that we will indeed have a brand new facility and it's state-of-the-art, like our stadium. I think we've proven to the football world on how we look at facilities. I am confident that we will have our own individual facility as soon as possible."

While season ticket prices were not raised for the 2002 season, one might be safe to assume that a successful 2002 Buccaneers' season could mean a big season ticket price increase the next year.

Bash the Glazers if you feel you have to, but be fair in your judgement and applaud their success in getting Gruden, extending McKay's contract and doing all of it without making the fans pay for it.

Copyright 2001 Buccaneer Magazine/

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