Why the Raiders’ Stadium Deal May Hinge on the Team’s on-Field Success

The Oakland Raiders are trying to get a new stadium in Oakland. According to a report from Matthew Artz of the Oakland Tribune, they are eyeing the smallest stadium in the NFL (just 56,500 seats) at the current site of O.co Coliseum.

The original report said the Raiders were eyeing a stadium of just 50,000 seats, but missed 6,000 club seats and 400-600 loge seats that were part of the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority’s presentation.

Don’t be misled; there isn’t a proposal on the table to build such a small stadium in Oakland, and it’s highly unlikely there will ever be such a small football stadium built in Oakland. Improvement of the on-field product to increase demand is one of the keys to a stadium project, because a small stadium is going to have severe funding challenges.

The Coliseum Authority actually lists this as the first opportunity, which means that it would be the most helpful in achieving the desired objective—to build a stadium.

The numbers reported by the Oakland Tribune were based on a team-commissioned study about the anticipated market demand. This market demand is consistent with the Raiders putting a tarp on portions of the upper deck to lower the capacity of O.co to 53,250—the smallest in the league.  

The Raiders also shared with the Coliseum Authority that there is “little corporate support in the market” and that a “PSL (personal seat license) program could potentially generate approximately $100 million”. Translation: There aren’t going to be a lot of corporate dollars coming in, and the appetite for PSLs, while larger than anticipated, is still pretty small.

According to Vic Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle, league and city sources said the numbers were “premature and inaccurate.” This is almost definitely true for many reasons.

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