Raiders buck NFL's ebbing attendance trend

Raiders buck NFL's ebbing attendance trend
July 12, 2012, 3:49 pm
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Long a league-wide sore spot when it came to home attendance and blackouts, the Raiders flipped the script on the NFL last season, selling out every regular season home game for the first time since the team returned to Oakland in 1995.Blackouts seem to be a thing of the past for the Silver and Black, who have had 57 televised home games and 79 blackouts the past 17 seasons.And get this -- while average game attendance in the NFL as a whole is down 4.5 percent since 2007, per the Wall Street Journal, the Raiders' attendance has actually gone up the past two seasons.RELATED: Raiders 2012 regular season schedule
In 2009, Oakland averaged 44,284 at home, the lowest since the team returned from its 13-season sojourn in Los Angeles. A year later, the Raiders drew an average crowd of 46,431 to the Coliseum, perhaps buoyed by the team's first non-losing season in seven years.Then, last year, in selling out every home game, the Raiders jumped to an average crowd of 59,242, meaning two years after a low mark, the Raiders had their third-highest average home crowd in 12 years.Only the average home crowds of 62,130 in 1999, when every Raiders home game was blacked out, and 60,636 in the Super Bowl season of 2002, when the Raiders sold out the final five home games, have been higher.The Coliseum's listed capacity of 63,132 is the second-lowest in the NFL, ahead of only the Chicago Bears' Soldier Field, which is 61,500. And the Raiders last year played in front of 93.8 percent capacity at home, the 22nd-best number in the 32-team NFL.