Florida’s professional baseball and football teams aren’t the only ones having to cover seats. Oakland’s teams are in a similar quandary: remove the tarps and experience a blackout, or add the material to temporarily adjust the stadium to size? In October 2012, the A’s promised to remove their tarps if they won against the Detroit Tigers; they didn’t, so the polyethylene stayed on.
The Raiders are addressing this issue now that the 2013 NFL season is approaching. Announced earlier in February, the team known for the lowest 2012 NFL attendance decided to add the tarps. As SFBay.ca explained, the tarps, which cover 11,000 upper-level seats at Mount Davis, reduce the O.co Coliseum from 64,200 to a more manageable 53,000. This way, the stadium appears to be full, and the team and its fans won’t suffer through a blackout.
This pattern of low attendance isn’t new for the Raiders, unfortunately. Although fans over the past few years continue to show, 2010 experienced a low of just 46,431 attendees on average. The tarps, as well, are expected to stay on for the entire season, per NFL rules.
Additionally, a stadium with a more packed appearance is expected to improve the atmosphere. In explaining this to the press, CEO Amy Trask said: “It’s an ongoing commitment on our part to create a vibrant, vibrant gameday environment with a community of season ticket holders. … Of course, another reason is we want to continue to provide the entire region with our games, live locally on television.”
Season ticketholders who purchased seats in the soon-to-be-covered areas will be moved to other sections of the stadium.
Tarps can be used across all parts of a sports stadium. While the A’s, Raiders, and various Florida teams blanket them across seats, the polyethylene material keeps the ground dry in the event of a storm, allowing practice or a game to quickly resume the following day.
- Oakland Raiders to reduce capacity of stadium (mercurynews.com)
- Coliseum lease ending, Raiders with final attempt to get Oakland to commit (silverandblackpride.com)
- Raiders Will Reduce Seating Capacity To The NFL’s Smallest In Attempt To Avoid TV Blackouts (deadspin.com)