Raiders seek to avoid layoffs with ticket sales plan

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Raiders seek to avoid layoffs with ticket sales plan

May 18, 2011RAIDERS PAGE RAIDERS VIDEO

ALAMEDA (AP) With no minicamps, offseason workouts or other football activities during the NFL lockout, every member of the Oakland Raiders organization is now part of the ticket staff.

Instead of forcing employees to take pay cuts or unpaid furloughs during the lockout as several teams are doing, the Raiders have implemented a plan that allows people to keep their full salary if they sell a certain number of season tickets.

"Different teams are taking different approaches," Raiders chief executive officer Amy Trask said Wednesday. "Certainly some teams are taking one approach: How do we decrease expenses during a work stoppage. We looked at this from the opposite approach. Let's all work together as an organization, every single department, to increase our ticket revenues."

To avoid a pay cut, employees must sell season tickets worth 10 percent of their salary during the lockout. For example, an employee making 60,000 a year would have to sell 500 worth of season tickets for each month of the lockout, which began March 12.

The cheapest season tickets for the Raiders cost 260 per year, with the most expensive non-club seats going for 960 annually.

The Raiders were last in the league in attendance last year, averaging about 46,430 fans per home game and selling out the approximately 63,000-seat stadium just once. Oakland had an extremely low season-ticket base as evidenced by the crowd of 32,218 for a game against Houston on Oct. 3, the smallest in Oakland since 1967.

The Raiders have had just two sellouts the past two seasons. They have had 83 of 128 regular-season games blacked out locally on television because games did not sell out since returning to Oakland in 1995.

"This is a program that's constructive and productive," Trask said. "We're working as a staff to build something together, so when we come out on the other side of this work stoppage we're going to be bigger and better and stronger for it because we have sold more season tickets."

Trask said the plan, which was first reported by USA Today, has been received well by the vast majority of the staff since being implemented in March. It applies to essentially all employees, including coaches, secretaries, executives and equipment staff.

"It's a privilege to work for the Raiders and to work for a National Football League team," Trask said. "Frankly work stoppage or no work stoppage, going out in the community and representing this organization and working to fill the stadium is something all of us should be doing anyway."

The tickets must be paid for one week before the first regular-season game to qualify, so employees don't need to get fans to pay up until they know whether games will be played.

Trask said she has personally sold enough season tickets to hit her target after the first two months of the lockout and has other sales in the works.

While Raiders employees work on selling tickets, the players have made their own plans for offseason workouts. Defensive lineman Richard Seymour and quarterback Jason Campbell have arranged a four-day "Team Passing Camp" next week in Duluth, Ga.

The camp will feature on-field drills, weightlifting, swimming and nutritional counseling. Seymour, who is funding the camp, sent out an email inviting his teammates to attend.

"Men, I hope everyone is well and staying in shape because we are going to outwork everyone we face this season, and it starts right now in the offseason," he wrote.

Seymour signed a 30 million, two-year contract with the Raiders in February, before the start of the league's lockout.

Carr discusses contract negotiations with Raiders: 'These things take time'

Carr discusses contract negotiations with Raiders: 'These things take time'

Raiders general Reggie McKenzie plans to extend quarterback Derek Carr’s contract this offseason. That isn’t a new thing, something that has been in the works for some time. He re-affirmed that fact last week, citing his team’s commitment to work out a long-term deal likely the biggest in franchise history.

Carr was reportedly frustrated with the pace of contract talks after the NFL draft – they’re supposed to heat up this spring and summer – but said he believes a deal will get worked out before training camp begins.

That’s his deadline for an offseason deal, the point where he wants focus honed on football.

“I have an agent who is in charge of that and I am confident that he and Mr. (Reggie) McKenzie will work it out,” Carr, a Fresno State alum, told the Fresno Bee. “I am only focused on becoming a better football player and helping my teammates become better players.

“I have complete faith it will get done before training camp. These things take time. The Raiders know I want to be here; this is my family, and I know they want me to be their quarterback.”

The sides have discussed parameters of a long-term deal, with greater specifics to be ironed out in the future. Carr has long said he wants to be a Raider his entire career. The Raiders want him as the public face of their franchise. A new deal is expected by all parties, a sentiment that has never wavered on either side.

Carr is scheduled to make a $977,519 in base salary in 2017, the final year of his rookie contract.

Raiders offseason program intensifies as OTA sessions begin

Raiders offseason program intensifies as OTA sessions begin

The Raiders offseason program is five weeks old. Players have lifted weights. They’ve improved cardiovascular shape. They’ve done drills in position groups and discussed schematics. They’ve added rookies to a group now 90 strong.

On Monday, they can finally put on helmets. They still can’t wear pads or have full contact, but the Raiders can play 11-on-11. Receivers will be covered. Quarterback Derek Carr will throw into traffic. Generally speaking, the competition cranks up a bit.

The NFL collective bargaining agreement has strict mandates regarding offseason activity, and a period formally called “Phase III” allows for more realistic on-field football work.

The Raiders will conduct 10 OTA sessions over the next three weeks. The media can watch three of them. Tuesday is the first, with another in each of the next two weeks. These sessions are technically voluntary, though the Raiders generally hover around perfect attendance. Head coach Jack Del Rio prefers his team be unified in the offseason. Players know it and show up.

There is a mandatory minicamp from June 13-15 which wraps the offseason program and starts a quiet period that extends until training camp begins in late July.

These OTAs offer an opportunity for new players to learn the system, for adjustments to be made and for chemistry to be built heading into a 2017 season where expectations are high.