If you can’t sell ‘em, tarp ‘em. That’s the philosophy of the Oakland A’s, and now the Raiders appear to be following suit. From CSN Bay Area:
As part of a stadium “capacity adjustment” for the 2013 NFL season, the Raiders are going to block off the top of Mt. Davis on the east side of the O.co Coliseum — sections 335 through 355 — as well as upper deck sections 300 through 303 on the south side of the original stadium and sections 331 through 334 on the north side.
According to Newballpark.org, this will lower the Coliseum’s football capacity from 63,132 to about 51,000. This move is also the Raiders’ first public admission that building Mt. Davis, the concrete monstrosity that removed the best part of the Coliseum — the view of the Oakland Hills — was a mistake.
While closing seats and copying Lew Wolff will probably draw groans from throughout the region, maybe it’s a good sign that the Raiders are being proactive about their blackout issue. Only one home game was blacked out during the 2012 season, which compared to previous years was a major improvement. With this change it’s hard to imagine a scenario where the Raiders can’t sell out all eight regular season dates, especially considering the Coliseum will now hold about 10,000 fewer available seats than the stadium with the second-smallest capacity, Soldier Field.
Of course, if the Raiders won more than 49 games over the past ten seasons, maybe they would’ve had some hope of selling every seat in 2013 without tarps pushing everyone a little closer to the field. Maybe the third overall pick in April’s NFL Draft will help in that department.