SBD/February 7, 2013/Facilities

Raiders To Reduce Seating Capacity By 10,000; Tarping Off Mt. Davis

A Raiders exec said the seat reduction was made in part to avoid TV blackouts
Capacity for Raiders games at O.co Coliseum will be "reduced by nearly 10,000 to 53,200 in 2013, and approximately 4,850 season-ticket holders from the east side high-rise structure known as 'Mount Davis' will be relocated," according to Jerry McDonald of the SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS. Raiders Chief Exec Amy Trask "described the decision as a 'tool' to ensure games remain on local television as well as to promote more of a community and family-friendly atmosphere." All seats in the west side third deck from sections 304 through 330 "will be $250 per season ticket -- even those that previously cost $610 or $460 depending on how close they were to the 50-yard line." All other season ticket prices "will be reduced $10." The Raiders with the reductions "will have the smallest venue in the NFL." The Bears' Soldier Field "seats 61,500." The Raiders had "just one television blackout in eight regular-season games in 2012 with help from the NFL's '85 percent' rule." The average "regular-season attendance for the Raiders in 2012 was 54,217." Trask said that the "closing of the east structure would be made in lieu of the 85 percent rule" (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 2/7). In S.F., Vic Tafur notes the Raiders "cannot reopen the 'Mount Davis' and other east-side third-deck seats once they have been designated to be tarped off," even if they "made the playoffs next season" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 2/7). Trask said, "It's not a revenue-generated decision." She added, "It's an ongoing commitment on our part to create a vibrant, vibrant gameday environment with a community of season ticket holders. That's the goal -- a community of season ticket holders. We'd like to sell the entire stadium on a season-ticket basis, and continue our efforts to create a family-friendly environment" (CSNBAYAREA.com, 2/6).

WANTING TO STAY AT CURRENT SITE: CSNBAYAREA.com's Paul Gutierrez noted Trask "insisted the team wants to remain at the same site, albeit in a new stadium, echoing the thoughts" of Owner Mark Davis. She said, "We love that site. Our hope, our desire is a new stadium on that site. And we have stated that publicly for years." Trask added, "Now, we do need a new building. Our fans deserve a new building. The community deserves a new building. We need a new stadium." Trask said that the Raiders are "still in 'discussions' with city and county representatives about the Coliseum City idea and said the next meeting is scheduled for next week." Trask said of sharing the 49ers' new Santa Clara stadium, "We did have discussions with the 49ers. We have not had any discussions recently. We have not closed the door on that opportunity. But our focus is on this site" (CSNBAYAREA.com, 2/6). But Comcast SportsNet Bay Area’s Jim Kozimor asked, “Is this a sign that they’re on the way out?" Kozimor: "Look at the tarps, lowering our prices and still can’t sell-out.” S.F.-based KGMZ-FM’s Chris Townsend said, “I know for a fact the Raiders were at a business meeting and they told somebody that they can't guarantee anything after 2013. They don't know where they're going to be” (“Chronicle Live,” CSN Bay Area, 2/6).

SHORT-TERM FIX: CSNBAYAREA.com's Ray Ratto wrote as a "spur to getting a new stadium built somewhere in the East Bay, tarping the mountain’s summit is basically putting an apron on a short-order cook." It "doesn’t make the Davis family any wealthier, it doesn’t make their search for the ideal site any clearer, and it doesn’t make the Oakland City and Alameda County governments any more generous." Ratto: "Herein lies the reason why the tarp doesn’t really matter much in the bigger picture." It "lessens the ticket-selling threshold the Raiders have to meet, which is likely a measure of the softness of the market, but that’s pretty much it. It doesn’t change the larger dynamic, which is that neither they, the governments nor the market can get a new stadium built without a dramatic change in ownership percentages." The Raiders will need to be "far more creative than just putting a new skirt on an old mannequin" (CSNBAYAREA.com, 2/6).
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