Al Davis surely is smiling.
His son, current Raiders owner Mark Davis, voted against the league’s plan to turn the lower rows of seats closest to the field in every stadium into advertising opportunities. The Raiders were the only team to oppose the measure with Davis expressing his misgivings during the virtual meeting last week.
“I can’t imagine telling one fan they cannot attend the opening game of our inaugural season in Las Vegas at the most magnificent stadium that they helped to build. Let alone tell 3,500 fans that their seats are gone for the entire season,” Davis told Vincent Bonsignore of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “Those seats in the front rows are some of our most ardent fans, including members of the famed Black Hole. You think I want to sell advertising on their seats?”
The Raiders are sold out for the entire season with no other seats to accommodate displaced fans, if the team will be allowed to have a full stadium. So the eight-row buffer zone, sold as a way to further protect players, coaches and team staff from COVID-19 exposure, could become a problem.
Davis said the league has time to come up with a better alternative.
“Creativity will be necessary,” Davis said. “One of our executives came up with a solution, one in which Las Vegas will be familiar, but the league shot it down dismissively. But we’re not ready to give up yet. We will do everything we can to see that all our fans are able to attend every game this season.”
The league will allow fan attendance based on state and local regulations of each of its 32 teams. That makes it possible that one team could play in a full stadium and another in front of no fans.
The Raiders await word from Nevada leaders.
“Unfortunately, a league that operated the entire offseason on the basis of equity, whether it be the draft or team facility access, has completely dropped the ball on uniform attendance procedures,” Davis said. “We have potentially 32 different capacities and seating formations. Where is the equity in that?”
If the Raiders can’t have a full stadium, Davis wonders whether it would be best to have no fans.
“Maybe it’s all or none, because I’d hate to have to tell any of our fans they can’t go to some or any Raiders games,” Davis said.