The Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum opened up in 1966, in time for that year's NFL season. The Oakland Raiders played their home games at the Coliseum from 1966-1981. They moved to Los Angeles and the LA Memorial Coliseum for the years 1982-1994. They returned to Oakland in 1995 and have played at the now O.co Coliseum ever since.
The O.co Coliseum is a multi-purpose facility that gained an MLB team in the Athletics in 1968. It is the last remaining MLB/NFL facility. It is also part of the same complex as Oracle Arena, home of the Golden State Warriors. Aside from these teams, the Coliseum has hosted soccer games and famed promoter Bill Graham's concert series "Day on the Green."
When the Raiders returned to Oakland after never being able to secure a new stadium in Los Angeles, the Coliseum erected what is known as "Mount Davis" (named after late owner Al Davis) above where the bleachers used to be. This gargantuan eyesore for A's games includes a couple levels of luxury seats and clubs.
The Raiders are one of the most recognizable entities in all of sports. Though they have not been successful lately, their history is full of triumphs. Original members of the American Football League (1960-1970), the Raiders won the AFL championship in 1967. They have been members of the NFL since the merger and have won three Super Bowls (XI and XV in Oakland, XVIII in LA). They've been to one additional Super Bowl in 2002, losing Super Bowl XXXVII to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The current state of the Raiders in Oakland remains murky with rumors of a return to LA or a move to San Antonio clouding the future.
The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:
Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
The Coliseum offers almost exactly the same concessions for the Raiders games as they do for the A's games, except at a more expensive clip. An example of this is a 22 ounce premium craft beer in a souvenir cup costs $11 at an A's game and the same beer in a 16 ounce clear plastic cup costs $12.50 at a Raiders game.
Which brings us to beer. Budweiser and Coors products are readily available at nearly every stand and come in a $11.50 20 ounce cup. The awesome craft beer stand available during as A's games is located in the West Side Club which requires a special ticket for Raiders games. To supplement this, there are temporary stands set up near the Al Davis Memorial Torch. Be sure to check out Oakland's own Linden Street Brewery stand.
The food concessions are the same as at the A's games as well, albeit at a marked up price.
The nachos are one of the more popular items at the ballpark. You can go the standard nacho cheese and jalapeno route or dress it up with the delicious chicken nachos or the huge Kalua pork nachos. I'm particularly a fan of the greasy garlic nachos.
It's a bit of a transition time when it comes to the concessions. However, all the standbys are still at the Coliseum which include hot dogs, burgers, pizza and a BBQ stand. One of the newer stands is the deep-fried stand which includes bite-sized deep-fried versions of cheeseburgers, jalapeno poppers, and zucchini ($7).
This being a dual-sport facility, there are characteristics unlike any other current NFL stadium.
One thing of note is that the seating footprint is rounded on one side of the field instead of being a near perfect rectangle. This is particularly noticeable during A's game when you see all of the foul territory. During football games, this layout puts fans farther away from the action.
The Raiders enter from where home plate would be, between the two dugouts. This is the shaded side, opposite Mount Davis which is facing the sun for afternoon games. Prior to kickoff, the sound system plays "Hell's Bells" by AC/DC.
I'd venture to guess that the Coliseum's video boards and scoreboards are some of the poorest in the NFL. This doesn't bother me much during baseball games but in football, where replays play a significant role, it's much more noticeable.
Just like for A's games, the Raiders top off some of the seats which lowers capacity from 64,200 to 56,057. The Raiders only tarp off the seats above the suites atop Mount Davis. They did this, in part, as a way to avoid local blackouts when the team was struggling to draw fans.
A definite plus to the game day atmosphere is the tailgating experience. Raider fans really do it up right and an NFL fan would enjoy the comfortable East Bay weather well into the winter.
Just like Oracle Arena, the Coliseum suffers from a nearly vacant immediate neighborhood. Old warehouses line the streets surrounding three sides of the complex and a freeway, the other. There is no panoramic view to enjoy and the only energy given is from the colorful characters in the parking lot. In fact, the parking lot prior to the game would be the best place to enjoy the "neighborhood" as lots of people are in high spirits.
There are no legitimate bars or restaurants in the immediate area convenient for meeting up and walking to the game. However, because of the convenient access to the complex and the fact that Oakland is a big city with big city dining choices, eating before arriving to the neighborhood is a reasonable option.
Within a few miles, Oakland has a few neighborhoods worth checking out if you have time for dinner. Downtown, Temescal, Lakeshore and Rockridge are the hot dining areas. You're also near the beautiful Lake Merritt if you're up for a stroll.
Francesco's is on the other side of the 880 freeway, between the Coliseum complex and the Oakland Airport. It serves well-priced and delicious Italian food in very nice portions.
The majority of the rest of the options are of the fast food variety. You can find a greasy burger or cup of coffee with no problem.
If local craft beer is your thing, Ale Industries is about 2.5 miles north on San Leandro St. It is located in the predominately Hispanic Fruitvale neighborhood so you can definitely track down some excellent taqueria food.
Raiders fans are some of the most notorious in all of American professional sports. Perhaps more than most, Raiders fans' affinity for their team is an integral characteristic in their lives.
One of the things I most appreciate about Raiders fans is that there is never any shame in being one. In the midst of a 4-win season or a 10-year playoff drought, you will not see anyone wearing a paper bag on their head. This would be unacceptable for a "Raider." This prideful cue comes from the mystique established by former owner Al Davis. Walking through the concourse you'll begin to hear the "RAAAAIIIIIIDDDDERRRS" refrain started by one and picked up by everyone. This chant reverberates around the cement concourse and becomes the soundtrack as you march toward your seat.
It would be nice to see a few more fans each Sunday. I think that aspect of the game day experience would improve overnight if their was an explicit commitment from ownership that there is a future in Oakland.
It's my belief that the Coliseum complex is the most convenient large-scale stadium or arena to get to in all of Northern California.
The most convenient way to get to the stadium is by taking BART which stretches over much of the Bay Area. The Coliseum/Airport Station is right on the other side of San Leandro Street accessible by the pedestrian overpass. Other public transportation options are AC Transit buses and Amtrak trains, both with stops for the Coliseum. In addition, there is now a direct train specific for taking passengers to and from the airport and Coliseum.
The parking lot is split into 4 sections; 2 off of 66th Ave exit and 2 off of the Hegenberger exit. Traffic flow tends to be alright considering how many cars are arriving and leaving.
Unfortunately, accessibility is not quite as easy once you enter the stadium. Concession and restroom lines are long and outdated. The special club areas stretch for quite a distance and serves as a road block when trying to get to the other side. If you do not have a ticket to these clubs it will take several minutes out of your way to get to the other side. It would be nice to have a pedestrian lane through the club for foot traffic.
The Raiders recently restructured their pricing and it has been an improvement. For some games you can get in the door for as low as $35. If you take BART rather than driving , going to an NFL can be a very affordable experience.
It is significantly more expensive to sit in the club and lower levels. To me, it's not worth the added charge for the minimally increased amenities.
With mostly expensive and unappetizing food, I'd recommend a 300 level ticket combined with a solid pregame tailgate.
One of the coolest things about attending a Raiders game is the pregame ceremony when the Al Davis torch is lit. This honor usually goes to a Raiders legend from the past. Past lighters of the torch include Marcus Allen, Bo Jackson and Tim Brown.
There is something to be said for a historical venue that has seen its good deal of success. Between the Raiders and A's the Coliseum has significant historical value.
It would be nice to have a clear idea of the Raiders future in Oakland or otherwise. If a commitment to Oakland is put in place I could see the vibe at the Coliseum and within the fan base evolve for the better. Keep following Stadium journey news for any updates on the Raiders stadium situation.
The Oakland Raiders began play at the O.co Coliseum (then, the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum) in 1966, two years before Charlie Finley moved the Athletics west from Kansas City.
There are definite differences between an A's game and a Raiders game, the most obvious of which is probably the tarped off third deck during A's games that the Raiders use as seating. Beyond that, the atmosphere is entirely different with different people, a different sport, and a packed house.
The Coliseum is unique in that the playing surface is below ground level. Because of this, when fans enter gates they're looking down on the field from the top of the first level. From there you head downstairs to a lower level seat and upstairs to the second and third levels.
The Coliseum has been at the bottom tier of NFL stadiums along with California neighbors Candlestick Park and Qualcomm Stadium. Because of this, many have added the Raiders to the list of potential teams that can make their home at the Los Angeles football stadium. With the passing of Al Davis, much of this speculation has been put on the shelf while the front office figures their next steps.
As a first time visitor from 7000 miles away in England, I had traveled the vast (and expensive) distance to the Bay area for the sole purpose of seeing the Raiders play. So when I went to the Oakland Coliseum that first Sunday, my expectations were high. The access to the stadium from where I was staying was easy by public transport, and I took the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transport, or a train to you and me).
There was a sea of silver and black flags attached to vehicles in the car park, and the fan base might look like they were from a Hells Angel convention, but they made me very welcome in every way.
Now let's be honest, the O.co Coliseum is one of the older, and smaller stadiums in the league. But being from England, I'm used to much smaller ball parks, so it wasn't a letdown for me in any way. When I walked out of the corridor into the stadium proper, it was half full and shining in the bright California sun. It was a sight, and a feeling I will never forget. The whole atmosphere, from the warm ups to the end of the game, was fantastic. This stadium has so much history, you can almost feel it.
The price of admission I thought was fair, tickets are between $48 and $160, depending on where you wanted to sit. The higher priced seats have waitress service and a private bar. The only downside was the food was quite limited, the drinks were very over priced ($8 for a beer), and there were no real bars or facilities outside the stadium.
The ticket I had was right by the player's tunnel, which proved a really good decision. About 30 minutes before the game started, the Raiderettes were down on the field close by, and they came up into the crowd to speak to the fans and have their pictures taken with us. I got pictures with the Raiderettes!
When they introduced the players, and they came running out of the tunnel, they high fived the hands of the fans who were leaning over, and I was one of them. Robert Gallery slapped my hand, Robert Gallery!
Oakland lost the game, but the electric feeling around the stadium could be felt even to the final whistle. If the Raiders made a play, the whole stadium erupted into cheering and screaming, and the passion of the fans was tangible. It might not be the biggest or the best stadium in terms of capacity or facilities, but in Oakland it really is the people who make it special.
It isn't an accident that I have been back twice since. The last time I got a ticket to the â??Black Hole' with the hard core fans. That was also a great experience, and the atmosphere there is even more intense.
I attended the game in which the Raiders gave up the most points in their history, hence my title. The original review is quite accurate, the fans are great and honest. Some dress in fearsome garb, but they are there to watch their team and not get in fights. I had the good fortune of spending some time at the Bad Boyz of BBQ Tailgate and the fans welcomed visiting supporters with open arms. If possible, take BART, as getting out can take time. The torch is a permanent fixture now and is lit by a former Raider before the game. I also was in the club, which has a few more extras, including some plaques of famous Raiders, A's and Warriors, and a few old photos that are worth a look. Once the Raiders start winning again (soon, I was assured by a few fans) this place will regain its lost luster.
easy to get too from San Francisco and the fans are very passionate ...atmosphere wasnt great but it was a blowout loss to the Saints. Food and drinks were poor. the tickets were cheap which was a bonus but the queues to get into the field were horrendous so get there early ....oh and the seagulls circling overhead during the 4th qtr unloading on the fans was something i havent seen before and i had to run for cover ....not the best extra
8520 Pardee Drive
Oakland, CA 94621
Oakland, CA 94607