- Paul Gutierrez, ESPN Staff Writer
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Oakland reduced the capacity of the O.co Coliseum this year from 64,200 to 53,286 by placing tarps across the top of Mt. Davis on the east side of the stadium as well as eight other sections on the northeast and southeast sides of the original bowl.
Raiders owner Mark Davis, though, told ESPN.com last week that one section on either side of the original stadium will be untarped with tickets there given to local schools.
“Four hundred kids and 400 parents,” Davis said. “We’re going to bus them, we’re going to feed them and we’re going to have a chalk talk at the arena for them before the game, talking about work ethic, school work, trying to work in the community.”
Many fans point to the elevation of Terrelle Pryor at quarterback as a reason for optimism. Blackouts had been an issue for the Raiders since they moved back to Oakland from Los Angeles in 1995. But recently only one game -- last year’s Dec. 2 affair against Cleveland -- in 2012 was blacked out a year after every home game was sold out in 2011. Like other teams, the Raiders took advantage of the so-called 85-percent threshold rule.
Since taking over their own ticket sales in 2006, the Raiders have televised 35 of 56 home games, including 15 of 16, heading into the Jaguars game.
“I’ve come to the conclusion that a 53,000-seat stadium … is basically what our market is,” Davis said. “We’re not an 80,000-seat stadium, we’re not a 65,000-seat stadium, really, unless you’re winning every game and all that stuff.
“For us the 53,000–seat stadium is good and maybe 5,000 club seats bring it up to 58,000 seats. But in all those years, I think when we moved back (to Oakland) we overbuilt the market, so to speak. Especially because of the pricing and everything else, and that’s all marketing. And that was a whole different concept, having the Oakland Football Marketing Association taking (ticket sales) out of the team’s hands might not have been one of the better things to do.”
And since 1995, after 13 years in L.A., the Raiders have televised 64 home games with 80 blackouts.
6dEric D. Williams