The Oakland Raiders have been struggling to sell out the O.co Coliseum for years. The result has been a lot of blackouts and a seemingly empty stadium even when the Raiders manage to discount tickets enough to get the game on local television.
Changes appear to be afoot, as the Raiders made some tweaks to their seating chart on the team’s official website. The upper deck section known as “Mount Davis” has been removed as well as eight sections of the regular upper deck. Ticket prices have also been slashed.
The adjustment to the seating capacity was overdue, as they will create a higher demand for available tickets and make it easier for the Raiders to sell out. The Raiders took advantage of a new league rule in 2012 that allowed the game to be on local television if they sold 85 percent of the non-premium tickets, but even that didn’t solve the attendance problem.
Mount Davis added more than 8,000 seats when it was built when the Raiders agreed to return to Oakland in 1995. An alternate seating chart exists on the team’s official website with the sections in question blocked out, but the site official links to the chart with the sections missing entirely.
Over the past few years, the Raiders have struggled to sell out and have resorted to offering ticket deals through sponsors to get certain games on television. Even when the Raiders managed to put the game on television, the upper deck was usually pretty empty. Adjusting the capacity likely puts an end to those offers and takes the stress off of sponsors and the ticket office.
According to Paul Gutierrez of CSNBayArea.com, the Raiders plan to announce the specifics of the plan Wednesday afternoon, including the price reductions on certain season tickets. The changes which are already live on the team’s website certainly demonstrate a proactive approach to the Raiders’ attendance issues.
O.co Coliseum will become the smallest venue in the NFL with the adjustments while also remaining one of the cheaper tickets in the league. According to fancostexperience.com, the Raiders had the cheapest average premium ticket in the NFL in 2012 and the third-cheapest average ticket. The only two teams with cheaper average ticket prices have significantly larger stadiums.
The Raiders have done a good job masking some of their attendance issues over the past few years, but they continue to have one of the more challenging situations in the entire league. O.co Coliseum is the oldest stadium in the league that hasn’t either had major renovations or is scheduled to be replaced.
Even putting a better product on the field isn’t going to solve the Raiders’ issues, although it will certainly help. The Raiders need a new stadium, and if they can’t broker a deal soon, they might end up renting from the 49ers in Santa Clara.