The Raiders continued another trend from last season and failed to sell out in time to lift the local television black out for the eighth consecutive game.This can hardly be seen as surprising after the dismal attendance numbers though last season including three games where there was less than 40,000 in announced attendance. Those games were against New York Jets (39,354), Cincinnati Bengals (34,112), and the Baltimore Ravens (38,400). The 34,000 against the Bengals was the lowest attendance for a Raiders home game since 1987 when only 26,645 fans entered the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum to see two scab teams play. To find a lower attendance number in Oakland, it would be during the 1967 season.
It would be easy but disingenuous to blame the lingering economic woes as more than an ancillary cause of the blackout streak. Since the Raider return to Oakland in 1995 sellouts and blackouts have been an issue.
The early problems with sell outs were laid at the feet of the failed Oakland Football Marketing Association and issues with PSLs that were supposed to pay for the remodeling of the Coliseum. Those issues were resolved in 2006, and the blackouts stopped. The Raiders were on local television 6 out of 8 of their home games that season despite their 2-14 record. That trend continued through 2008.
In 2009, the Raider Nation's frustration with the losing and the JaMarcus Russell situation boiled over. The attendance plummetted as the Raiders racked up the losses once again. Against this backdrop, the "Message to Al" billboard appeared about a mile away along Interstate 880. Chunks of Raider fans were officially revolting. (Insert obligatory joke here.)
There was a positive buzz surrounding the Raiders that started with the drafting of Rolando McClain and Lamarr Houston, as well as the release of JaMarcus Russell and trade for Jason Campbell. It continued through the OTAs and into training camp. Then came the opening game against the Titans and it all came tumbling down.
If the Raiders start winning again, the tickets will start selling.
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