Friday, June 09, 2006

A New Day in The Nation

Gigi Gillard of the Oakland Raiders Ticket Office sent a note to Raider Take the other day, kindly requesting that I help spread the good news about season tickets. It got me wondering: Why haven’t I written more about this? Perhaps I got distracted by my duties as the executive director of the Paul McQuistan Haiku Fest. While I’ve mentioned the new ticketing improvements in passing, I haven't yet done them full justice here at Raider Take. So now I want to make up for lost time by elaborating on both recent developments and my own personal experience with the new ticketing operation.

Let me begin by saying that I would never measure the dedication of a Raiders fan based on how many games he or she attends. Everyone has their own personal, financial and geographic considerations that affect their ability to attend games. I respect these considerations.

However, if you’ve toyed with season tickets in the past, only to be crushed by the senseless added fees and spit-in-your-eye customer service of the now-defunct Oakland Football Marketing Association, here’s the really good news: tickets are considerably cheaper, and the customer service immensely improved, since the Raiders began handling their own ticket sales this year. Perhaps this isn’t news to you, but the folks at the Oakland Raiders Ticket Office report that, in fact, many Raiders fans are still unaware of the depth of the recent improvements.

The new ticket plans are models of simplicity. Click here to view the pricing diagram. Just multiply the price by 10 (eight home games and two preseason games) and you have your total season ticket cost. I recall that there is a negligible $2 up-front service charge, but that’s it. There are no taxes or hidden fees. The dreaded Personal Seat License has been eliminated. No weird math or head scratching. You simply pay for what you get, one year at a time.

You will immediately notice that, in most cases, the savings are big compared to the packages of previous years. Packages now start at just $260 ($26 per game) for the season! Yes, these cheap seats are atop Mt. Davis, but you can't beat the price. In my book, some of the best values are found in the middle price range of $610, on the first and second levels around either endzone. That’s not chump change, but it’s money well spent if you can swing it.

If you, like me, believe that the Return to Glory is well underway, then there is an additional advantage to owning a personal piece of Coliseum real estate for the entire season: first priority on purchasing playoff tickets.

My guy at the team’s ticket office was Jhmichea (pronounced Ja-MIKE-uh) Snyder. I’m a careful investor and a tire kicker by nature, so I’m afraid I practically drove poor Jhmichea nuts trying to find just the right seats for my cousin and myself. Over the span of several calls, he provided me with various options until I was satisfied with my choice. He was friendly and responsive on all occasions, as were his colleagues, including Tom Ybarra.

I encourage you to call Jhmichea, Tom and friends toll-free at 1-800-RAIDERS. Shoot the breeze with them, kick some tires, and see what they can do for you. Or sign up here to get more information on both season and individual game tickets (individual game tickets go on sale in July). If you want to daydream or test drive your potential seats, then check out the cool new Coliseum virtual tour tool.

Ultimately, I believe that what was once a pipe dream for many—a season ticket package—is now within reach of many, given the improvements in affordability and customer service. It’s what the Raider Nation deserves, and it’s been a long time coming. A new day is indeed dawning at the Coliseum in 2006.

P.S. Here’s the relevant excerpt of the note from Gigi: “As you might have heard the OFMA is gone and all ticket operations are now being handled in-house by the Raiders. We have a staff of roughly 20 Ticket Sales and Service Representatives to assist our fans. With that said, we plan on making our fans’ buying experience much smoother and easier than in years past…We are really trying to make this year the a great year for season ticket holders with many new advantages…The Raiders Ticket Office would love for you to link your site to our site, which has all of our ticket information. This will allow fans to gain valuable information about Raider tickets, as well as answer any question they might have.”

P.P. S. I know that for some existing season ticket holders in certain locations, the price has gone up, and I understand if there's some bitterness with that. But in general, and for the greater good, I believe that the elimination of the PSLs and the improved customer service are a step in the right direction. The new plans are more inclusive, with cheaper options and no punitive seat licenses. This ensures that no Raiders fan is left behind, which is an important factor in filling seats and keeping the team in Oakland.

P.P.P.S. If you are a new Raiders fan and have never been to a Raiders game but are curious about attending, then test the waters with an individual game ticket—you will be embraced by the Raider Nation and inspired by the environment. For an extra nudge, click here for Raider Take’s description of the gameday experience.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is great deal especially for an east coaster like myself-- I can cough up $520 for two up high and get my name on the playoff list? Compare that to the plight of Redskins fans whose owner bends them over at every opportunity--you have to give up a pint of blood, a kidney and a testicle..and that's just to park! Yikes!

6:25 AM  
Blogger The Analyzer said...

The Raiders are really committed to restoring their in-game fan base this year. I'm glad to see it and we are back on the path to selling out again. It's about time.

7:46 AM  
Blogger Roy said...

Better late than never. I have recently moved to Nevada so unfortunately I will have to give up my season tickets this year. However, I will attend a few games. This really pisses me off. I hate the OFMA. I am sure that we could fill an entire blog with horror stories, those bastards have screwed me more times than I care to remember. If there are any Raider fans who have not been to a game, go, you will not be disappointed. For $26 there are no excuses.

9:03 AM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

Ozzie, your experience was VERY similar to mine, thanks for spreading the good news.

LK, we'll see you at the playoffs!

Roy, that's a raw deal, but you show your true Silver and Black colors by coming to any games from Nevada!

Analyzer, you hit the nail on the head.

11:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hell yeah, RT. I'll be the one wearing that fine "Return to Nasty" shirt

11:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This ensures that no Raiders fan is left behind, which is an important factor in filling seats and keeping the team in Oakland.

that statement above tells it all folks. al davis or whoever owns the team come 2010 when the lease is up will look to move the team once again. the practice facility has already been given up to the city/county or whomever they agreed to take it over. the team has no place to practice after 2010. even if they happend to extend the lease at the coliseum, where they gonna practice????? this tells me that davis is moving. can you answer that raider ticket office? no. of course not.

i will do my part. that is, purchasing season tickets. but after 2010 there's no gaurantee we'll still have our beloved team. so basically we do our part, but will davis do his (keep the team local)?

6:30 PM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

I hear, you Scorpio...All I can say is what's done is done. The OFMA was bad for the fans AND the team.

Can the damage be rectified between now and 2010? I don't know.

I do know that the Raiders seem to be making a real effort to turn things around on the ticketing front, which is ground zero for making the franchise viable in Oakland for the long term. There is always room for improvement, but I would say that that improvements thus far have been significant.

There are no guarantees after 2010, as you note. But through effort comes hope, and because I do see effort, I still have hope.

8:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear RT,

I agree with your comment about not measuring dedication based on the number of games a fan attends.

It is certainly an extravagance in our family to do the Tailgate/Game thing right.

We encourage everyone to attend at least one game and experience "The Raider Nation"

From the top of Mount Davis (5 rows to be exact) to the Black Hole, we have seen it from every angle.

"Just Go, Baby!"

9:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think OFMA really contributed to the disarray of the ticketing operations in previous years...Season tickets are a luxury to most EVERYBODY, so considering how complicated it was it's no wonder the HOT wasn't near full. Once I saw the new ticketing plans, I dropped an email to my man Langston Adair with a few furtive questions...but he was so helpful (like Ozzie's experience) that it wasn't long before I was in negotiations with my other half...And suddenly I've got 2 lower level tickets on teh 10yd line!! It's a dream come true...Now I just hope there'll be plenty of screaming Raiders with me!

Overall, the Raiders have really helped their public image with this one...The friendly, approachable staff and the reasonable ticket prices have really raised my respect for the organization as a whole.

10:06 AM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

Mrs. Raider Nation Podcast has excellent family priorities; those are some lucky kids (and husband, too!).

Horsecollarjack, thanks for spreading the good news. The streamlining and simplifying of the packages, along with the highly personalized service, is a winning combination that will definitely help fulfill a lot of Raider Nation dreams.

2:58 PM  

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