Raiders Dump PSLs

The Oakland Raiders have agreed to drop not only its existing lawsuits with the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority, but also the practice of selling Personal Seat Licenses to fans for the privilege of buying season tickets.

The NFL’s Raiders were among the first professional sports teams to implement the PSL, a scourge of fans but another revenue stream for the team and stadium at prices ranging from $250 to $4,000, depending on the seat.

Dropping the seat licenses is not without risks; PSLs were a viable means by which to pay down the $200 million in publicly financed bonds that paid for expansion of the then-named Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum (now McAfee Coliseum) and build a practice facility.

Under the new agreement, current license holders will receive first option to buy tickets for next season.

The licenses were adopted more than 10 years ago as part of the deal that lured the Raiders back to the Bay Area from Los Angeles.

The PSLs were also a focal point of the team’s fraud lawsuit against the authority that ended in 2003 with a $34.2 million jury award in the team’s favor. The Raiders claimed the authority falsely promised the team that the stadium would be sold out for all its games.

The deal to drop the lawsuits and seat licenses was outlined during a November 2nd news conference held by team owner Al Davis and Oakland City Council President Ignacio De La Fuente. The two parties agreed to resolve some 17 issues already in litigation.

Other terms of the deal make the Raiders responsible for their own ticketing and marketing operations, previously handled by the Oakland Football Marketing Assn. Two weeks after the season, the OFMA will be dissolved at the expense of the authority.

In addition, the authority will now receive all revenues from parking, which will increase by $15 over the next five years, and 15 percent of playoff game revenues. Ownership of the team’s Alameda, Calif., training facility will revert to Alameda County after 2011.