NFL: Raiders take a different approach with employees during lockout
ALAMEDA, Calif. (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.