Oakland Raiders: Raiders Attendance Improves, While League Average Falls!
Stuart Kovacs – Jul 12, 2012
When the National Football League made revisions to its blackout policies on July 2, it sent a specific message to everyone who is a part of, or follows the league.
This message is that the league will lower its regulations in order to both spike attendance throughout the league, and create more opportunities for teams to get brand new stadiums.
The attendance numbers throughout the NFL show that these revisions are definitely necessary. While obviously many more fans are watching games at their homes, attendance at games has drastically decreased each year, over the past five seasons, according to Kevin Clark of the Wall Street Journal.
“With declines in ticket sales each of the past five years, average game attendance is down 4.5% since 2007, while broadcast and online viewership is soaring”
With that being said, these figures for the league as a whole do not reflect the attendance of the Oakland Raiders over the past few years. In fact, the team has actually seen a spike in attendance in the last two seasons, according to Paul Gutierrez of CSNBayArea.com.
In the 2009 NFL season, the Raiders averaged 44,284 fans. Those numbers were way down from the previous year in which the team averaged 57,850.
However, in 2010 the team’s average attendance jumped up to 46,431 and then to an absurd 59,242 in this past season.
The increase in attendance from the 2010 season by nearly 13,000 fans per game was one of the highest increases in the entire league. The Raiders, who only filled O.co Coliseum to 73.7% of its capacity in 2010, were able to fill 93.8% of the stadium in 2011, while selling out every single home game.
This attendance spike, which is likely credited to the 2010 team’s first non-losing season since 2002, awarded the Raiders their third-highest attendance total since the team moved back to Oakland.
The only two seasons in which the attendance at Raiders’ games were higher were in 1999 (62,130 per game) and 2002 (60,636 per game), the year the team made it to the Super Bowl.
The Raiders filled their stadium to 93.8% of its capacity in 2011, which was greater than 10 NFL teams, including the San Diego Chargers and Kansas City Chiefs which are two of the team’s division rivals.
This proves two critical things:
First, the Raiders are not in the need of aid from the NFL. While they are not selling 100% of their tickets, they are still selling a relatively high number, at least compared to the rest of the NFL and AFC West.
The blackout policy revisions will definitely help all 32 teams. However the Raiders are in no way whatsoever desperate for a change like this, despite the assumptions of many.
In addition to that, the increase in attendance for the Raiders also shows that they should remain in the city of Oakland.
There is no reason for the NFL to interfere with the team and their stadium issue. The Raiders should not be forced to a move to the city of Los Angeles, where the team has already played for 13 seasons and failed to draw the attendancce numbers they did even while losing in Oakland.
The Raider Nation has proven to be one of the most, if not the most dedicated fan bases in professional sports. Its loyal fans in Oakland have sat through a ridiculous amount of losing over the past decade. Even with the losing, the team saw some of its highest attendance figures since moving back to Oakland.
It’s pretty clear that these devoted fans have proven to the entire football world that Oakland is the Raiders’ home and that should not change.
Anyone who thinks that the team should be forced to move to Los Angeles, or even eliminated as Colin Cowherd of ESPN has said, should look at the stats. The Oakland Raiders are doing a fine job in selling their tickets.
A team with a fan base that is dedicated to increasing its attendance by nearly 13,000 fans per game in one year does not deserve to lose their football team.
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