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Ticket Bargain Turns Sour For Some Fans

January 3, 1996

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) _ Hundreds of Oakland Raiders fans who thought they got a bargain on 50-yard-line seats have found the deal was, indeed, too good to be true.

About 1,500 fans paid $3,000 for the right to buy tickets to the premium seats _ $1,000 less than others paid for seats that aren’t as good.

But on Tuesday, marketing officials announced the price is going up to $4,000.

Some fans said they were told they could pay the extra $1,000 or be moved to inferior seats next season.

``Doesn’t this seem a little bizarre or out of line?″ complained Marleen Riddle. ``They sold it, they advertised it and now all of a sudden they are saying, `Thanks for your support, now it’s going to cost you $1,000 more.′ ″

But marketing officials said fans knew the seating arrangements were subject to change.

``Everybody knew the seating was temporary,″ said Ezra Rapport. ``Now for people to say those seats were permanent, that’s wrong.″

Rapport, deputy city manager, directs the city-county Oakland Football Marketing Association. Under terms of their agreement to return to Oakland from Los Angeles, the team turned over marketing to the association.

The Raiders were lured back by the promise of major renovations to the aging Oakland Coliseum. Money for that work is being generated through the sale of personal seat licenses, basically the right to buy a ticket.

The 10-year contracts range from $250 to $4,000, depending on seat location. Contracts state that the marketing association has the right to select the exact location of the licensed seat by April 1996.

Marketing association spokeswoman Beverly Hennessey says the brochure offering the premium seats for $3,000 was hastily prepared and printed before detailed drawings showed how the renovated stadium would look.

The seats are covered and are between the 30- and 50-yard lines.

``There were some mistakes made because the whole thing was thrown together very quickly and we didn’t know what the seats would look like,″ Hennessey said. ``When the final architectural designs were done, we got a chance to go over there and re-evaluate, and this just makes sense to us.″

Rapport said the changes were necessary because about 1,000 fans who had paid the top price needed to be moved to better seats. He said fans being moved off the 50-yard line will gain by getting closer to the field.

``Nobody is being forced to pay more,″ he said,

The changes also mean that 369 seats previously billed as being in the best area, Section A, will be downgraded to Section B. Those fans won’t get a refund, but they will be moved to better seats in the new Section A, officials said.

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