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The NFL is back … and so are drunk-texting fans

Read the texts sent to Raymond James Stadium’s helpline.

“The Bucs SUCK! Fix it!” wrote one fan.

Mike Evans isn’t getting enough fantasy points for me to win tonight. Can you call down to the sideline and get him some targets?” asked another.

“The guy next to me just won’t stop farting! Please help.”

Those were among the thousands of messages sent by Bucs fans to Raymond James Stadium staff last season via the facility’s in-stadium customer service/complaint text line.

While most teams and stadiums have a prominently-advertised number that fans can text to report problems, they are typically secretive about their security and stadium operations. However, because Raymond James Stadium is operated by the public Tampa Sports Authority, the text messages are considered public records.

And while the TSA and Buccaneers have a reputation for responding to fan issues quickly via the text line, alcohol often fuels countless fake and/or inappropriate texts that waste staff’s time.

Texts like “Why is Fitzmagic throwing interceptions?” and “Worst uniforms in the league” become increasingly-common when the Buccaneers aren’t playing well.

“The plan was for our 1st and 2nd round picks to make an impact. Jason L. Call your office,” wrote another fan, referencing Buccaneers GM Jason Licht.

“There’s 11 guys in red fighting with 11 guys in white on the goal line! Hurry.”

Legitimate complaints reference a variety of experience- and security-related issues, with smoking violations, loud speakers, concession problems, and unruly fans among the most common.

“A drunk fan was throwing up in section 315, row G on the stairs. Please send someone to clean,” wrote one Bucs ticket-holder during a particularly rowdy Monday Night Football loss to the Steelers.

Neither the TSA nor the Bucs like to talk about their stadium operations, but the TSA has previously said that texting “33607,” which also happens to be the stadium’s zip code, was “the best way to convey a concern about (the) stadium experience.”

Records show game-day staff typically responds to high-importance issues within a minute or two, while staff is dispatched to address less-urgent complaints within 10-to-20 minutes. The texts also reveal operations employees use the text line themselves to get quick responses to problems ranging from cleanliness to concessions.

The text line sees action during non-NFL events too, including USF football games, Monster Jam, and concerts.

Ed Sheeran is taking too long to come out and i have an hour-long drive home and school tomorrow morning. what is this bs, bring out my baby ed,” wrote one attendee of last November’s Sheeran concert at the stadium.

“No service,” complained another Sheeran fan, adding “I just want my snapchats to post … my friends WANT to see an annoying hour of concert footage i PROMISE.”

The Buccaneers can’t always pack the stands the way big-name musicians can, but by-in-large, they waste more stadium resources than attendees of other events there.

Even the fans recognize it may be the alcohol: “I think the officiating crew is intoxicated,” complained one Buccaneers fan. “Please escort them out of the stadium.”

Written By

Noah Pransky is a multiple award-winning investigative reporter, most recently with the CBS affiliate in Tampa. He’s uncovered major stories such as uncovering backroom deals in the Tampa Bay Rays stadium and other political investigations. Pransky also ran a blog called Shadow of the Stadium, giving readers a deep dive into the details of potential financial deals and other happenings involving the Tampa Bay- area sports business.

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