Coliseum lease ending, Raiders with final attempt to get Oakland to commit

Jed Jacobsohn

The Raiders are coming up on the final year of their lease at the coliseum. After that a big decision must be made. Today the Raiders are making one last effort to make the bond between Oakland and the Raiders stronger.

We have seen this coming for a while. The end of the Oakland Coliseum, aka O.co, lease and the plans for the building of Famers field in Los Angeles on a collision course. Whether the team stays in Oakland will be wholly dependent on the level of support they receive from the city of Oakland with regard to building a new stadium in the area.

The Raiders are doing what they have to do to try and keep the team in Oakland. The latest gesture is the final of many over the past couple years.

What happened today was the team removed Mt Davis from the seating chart for available tickets. Taking Mt Davis off the map would bring the number of tickets necessary for a sellout from around 63,000 seats to around 55,000 seats. They would simply tarp off the monstrosity in the same way the A's do for their games.

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What this would do is make it easier for the team to sell out games and therefore be televised locally. In addition, they are lowering tickets prices. Season ticket holders have been receiving emails today which move them from Mt Davis to the third deck while third deck tickets are being offered for just $25. The new ticket deals were announced on Tuesday and since then the response has been tremendous.

The Raiders have sold out all but one game the past two seasons in Oakland. The way they did it the past two seasons was by offering 2 for 1 ticket deals. The result was often a sellout but with a good number of those upper deck seats still empty. While it was televised, it didn't look good to see empty patches in the stands for the home viewing audience.

Many fans show disdain for those who won't attend the game in person. The attitude being if they don't pay to see the team play in person, they don't deserve to see it. But that is missing the point. There are a lot of businesses who pay for ad space during the commercials during Raiders games. If it doesn't sell out, the game isn't on TV, and they lose that revenue.

But even more important is the "out of sight, out of mind" aspect of it. The best way for the team to reach out to fans, or more importantly, prospective fans, is through television. They develop interest that way and those viewers eventually want to come see this team in person.

In this particular case, it is about so much more than ad revenue or getting fans to come to games. It is about having a constant reminder to the people of Oakland that the team is still here and wants to remain here, but if the city wants the team to remain in Oakland, they must approve a new stadium.

Raiders chief executive Amy Trask has been making it her first priority to reach out to fans and keep them in love with this team even while the team has struggled in recent years and been rebuilding of late.

Things like Raiderville which allowed fans to have a destination before game time where they could enjoy many festivities as well as meet some Raider Legends was a tremendous idea that has been very well received.

Last year, season ticket holders were invited to camp by the thousands to get a sneak peek of their beloved Raiders. This is in addition to the Raider Nation Celebration which has gone on for over a decade and is free admission for anyone wishing to attend.

Today's announcement should ensure the seats are filled, with tickets in demand, and the game is televised. We know the Raiders are making every effort to stay in Oakland. They want this to be a proposal for a longterm commitment and not just be a long kiss goodbye.

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