15-year Bucs season ticket holders' membership revoked

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A family of Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans says they're heartbroken because their season tickets were revoked by the team. The reason, the team said, was for selling too many of them online.

Rich and Carly Kennedy of Land O' Lakes say they love the Bucs. They're true fans and not ticket brokers. They say a newborn baby put them on the sidelines for a while, forcing them to resell many of their tickets. They were hoping to get back into the game in the 2017 season. But now, that might not happen.

Rich has been a Bucs season ticket holder for 15 years.

"He actually started at the very last row at the very tip-top of the stadium," Carly Kennedy said.

When Carly moved to Tampa, she joined him in the front row of the visitors' section.

"We got our engagement photos done at Raymond James Stadium," Kennedy said.

But when their son Dylan joined the home team, they had trouble keeping up. In 2015, when Carly was pregnant, she said they sold about half of their tickets on StubHub.

"He went to every single game up until I got pregnant and we started going a little less just because I wasn't feeling up to it," she said.

When Dylan was born, it got even harder.

"It's really hard to have a baby and go to the games. With it being in the heat and later in the day it's difficult to take him. Last year, we went to two [games]," she said.

They planned to spend the resale money they got back on 2017 season tickets. But when they logged onto their account this month, they found no ticket information.

They contacted the Bucs. Eventually, they got an e-mail stating resale activity on their account far exceeded normal activity and their season membership was revoked.

"There was no warning: 'If you sell your season tickets, you'll be penalized,'" Kennedy said. "There was nothing in the paperwork anywhere about the certain number of season tickets you're allowed to sell."

While there's no policy in writing for season ticket holders, the Bucs ticket terms state "admission may be refused or withdrawn... at the sole discretion of the Buccaneers."

The Bucs sent us a statement from Chief Operating Officer Brian Ford who said, "To ensure that Buccaneers fans have the best opportunity to purchase season pass memberships in the most desirable locations, we have made the decision to stop selling memberships to a limited number of account holders that have been identified as ticket resellers to opposing team fans.

"Our top priority is providing our fans with a best-in-class experience when they attend games at Raymond James Stadium. By providing our most passionate fans with access to the best seats, we create the type of home field advantage that our players feed off on gamedays. Fans from opposing teams will still have the option to purchase individual tickets in various locations around the stadium or may choose to sit in designated visiting fan sections which we have provided."

Carly Kennedy said they're real fans, especially her husband, and it's hurtful that the team decided to take their membership away.

"I think my husband is going to have a hard time even wanting to go back after the way we have been treated," said Kennedy. "It's just really, really disheartening."

The Bucs organization isn't alone in closely watching who is reselling their tickets. Most other major sports teams also keep track.

The Tampa Bay Lightning has a similar policy for season ticket holders, in writing. It states that the season ticket member "acknowledges that his/her resale and/or trade activity may be monitored and tracked by the Tampa Bay Lightning, and, in the event that STM sells, attempts to sell, or engages a third party to sell on his/her behalf a substantial portion of the Account tickets, the Tampa Bay Lightning reserve the right to cancel the STM Account."