Friday, October 27, 2006

Raiders Fans Rise Up

For years, the Raiders had a hard time selling out the Coliseum, and we were told that there simply weren't enough fans, and that these fans would only sell the place out if the team was winning. Yet this year, after gaining control of their own ticket pricing and marketing operations for the first time since their return to Oakland, the Raiders have managed to sell out each home game to date despite a woeful record. This is a remarkable achievement that speaks to the fact that the problem was not the team nor its fans, but rather the bureaucratic impediment known as the Oakland Football (Anti) Marketing Association. Yet this success story has been largely ignored by the media.

Last November, after it was announced that the Raiders would finally seize control of their ticketing operations, Raider Take’s favorite columnist was one of those who claimed that Raiders fans would only pack the Coliseum if the team was winning.

He wrote: “In fact, what the Raiders and the city and county agreed to do was remove one additional excuse to the many people who have successfully resisted the lure of Sundays at the Coliseum. There still is a much larger one. The team itself. You see, the sellout problem (56 of 84 games have been blacked out locally since they returned) wasn't a problem when the Raiders were winning.”

He also wrote: “The Raiders' appeal is solely and entirely based on their playing like the old Raiders. As for the new Raiders, the team that is 47-72 when you remove the three good years from their resume, you couldn't wrap tickets around Beyonce Knowles and move them.”

In other words, he claimed that the team’s appeal is “solely and entirely” based on winning. Paging Raider Take’s favorite columnist! How about a follow-up piece now that the Raiders have sold out each home game to date with nary a win on the books? To these three sellouts, you can now add the upcoming game against the Steelers.

At the time of his column, I wrote a rebuttal. I countered: “I’m not saying that winning doesn’t help, but it’s far from the whole enchilada. In fact, rooting for the underdog is a quintessentially American pastime—as is marketing. Thus, the potential of marketing should not be underestimated when it comes to the Oakland Raiders.”

The Oakland Raiders have proven me right. Through sensible pricing and strategic marketing, the team has empowered, rather than obstructed, existing fans. The results speak for themselves.

There is still room for improvement. The concessions are still a disaster, in my opinion. I think that there is room for creative gameday ideas that will bring new fans into the fold while entertaining existing Raiders fans. But Rome wasn’t rebuilt in a day.

I am satisfied that the Raiders mean business on the customer service front. On opening night against the Chargers, the parking was mishandled by a subcontractor, resulting in an epic, and frustrating, gridlock (it took yours truly and his cousin two hours to get parked after exiting 880). The correction was swift and thorough. Last Sunday, a literal army of attendants, clad in crisp new fluorescent green vests, was on hand to keep things flowing. It took about five minutes to get parked after exiting 880.

Sunday’s game against the Cardinals was, if you can believe it, one of the most personally exciting games I’ve attended. The great thing about everyone kicking the Raiders while we’re down is that it adds an extra level of incentive and excitement to even the toughest seasons. As Raiders fans, we understand that it’s not all about the glory, but also the return to glory. There is no fair weather in the Raider Nation. The Autumn Wind blows at all times, win or lose.

There are now 60,000 of us (and many more around the world) who can say we were there when the chips were down. This is our calling card. This is just the beginning.

P.S. The Raiders just announced the following: “The Oakland Raiders' last five home games for as little as $130. You'll want to be there for great games against the reigning World Champion Pittsburgh Steelers, division rivals Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs, as well as matchups against the NFC West-leading St. Louis Rams and the first ever visit by the Houston Texans. Great locations are still available, call 1-800-RAIDERS today and reserve your tickets to this Sunday's game against the Pittsburgh Steelers! In addition to Season Tickets, The Oakland Raiders Sales & Service Department
has multiple ticketing options to meet any budget. Call 1.800.RAIDERS to speak directly with a Raiders Sales Representative, or email us at with your questions.”


Blogger BlandaRocked said...

Well said, RT.

Re Sunday... Shell has got to love this game. His favorite rival as a player in the 70s. Gilman v Gilman. Running backs, on both sides, hammering the line. Strong arms hurling missles. A rival we respect.

The players know the system can work if they make it work. A new attitude in Oakland. Walter's eyes are narrowing.

I pick no winner here, only a violent struggle. It will be close. Forget the spread. Low scoring... 14-13 or 21-20.

Nation, stand for the kick-off!

8:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I moved to the Bay Area from Ireland in 2003, the first thing I wanted to do was to go to a Raider game. So, I searched for "Raider Tickets" on Google, and up popped this thing for the OFMA. There were no Raider logos, no indication that I hadn't reached the website of an executive country club for football snobs. Turns out that initial assessment wasn't too far from the truth.

After figuring there was no other way to find a ticket (Craigslist was a mystery to me at the time) I called up and left a message. It was never returned. Two weeks later I did the same, and that message was never returned.

Eventually I got a ticket on eBay to see the Raiders Vs. Cowboys in pre-season, but it wasn't thru OFMA.

The email sent out by the Raider's marketing crew yesterday (which you highlight at the end of your take) is just one reason why I think we'll sell out 90% of the games from here on out...5 games for $130? When you put it like that (and offer the chance to see Raiders/Broncos for as little as $26!) it just makes sense. And the knowledge that when you call, you're talking to the Raiders organization, makes it feel (finally) like a community, like a personal connection to the team and other fans.

Yes the concessions need work. Yes, parking can be a hassle. Yes, the HOT has an unsavory "reputation" (which gamedays have shown to me to be false). But the experience of football sundays for a reasonable price, whether 0-5 or 5-0 has made me, a first time Season-Ticket holder, into a Life-Time season ticket holder. And that's marketing: just giving the people what they want.

Another thing this shows is that the internet makes hacks like your fave columnist redundant. When blogs like Raidertake can give a more concise, more finger-on-the-pulse take on a situation it means, despite RT not have the readership of, people who want accuracy, accountability and a greater understanding will change how they acquire their information. Keep it up.

9:52 AM  
Blogger x said...

Whatever happened to your favorite columnist anyway? Was he taken off the Raider beat? He's been awfully quiet.

10:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I suggest emailing Ratto's article back to him.

5:48 AM  
Blogger x said...


According to the IBA Raider Blog, Porter will start Sunday.

10:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had to post about porter...and give kudos to blandarocked. dude, you called this move since day one! the only people in the raider nation who can be surprised by this are people who don't read this blog!

heres hoping porter brings something special today, though i suspect th lack of familiarity with AW may be an issue....GO RAIDERS!!

8:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The 49ers... now there's a team, well coached by mike nolan, great D coached by ? davis, to bad it isn't big al (mr.) davis, we had chicargo by the jugular all through the 1st. half! but they got lucky and beat the POWERFUL red and gold! Nolan couldn't coach a girls powderpuff team, and his D-discoordinator should be working on the faidas staff! Maybe if you're lucky shell(shocked) will talk big al (mr.) davis into hiring the losers next year!

12:11 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home