With their classic team colors of
silver and black, the Oakland Raiders are one of the NFL's storied
franchises, winning 12 division titles and three Super Bowls, yet the team plays
in the last multipurpose stadium in the NFL.
history of the Raiders began in January 1960 when the City of
Oakland was awarded an expansion franchise by the AFL. At that
time, Oakland was viewed as being a bedroom city and not a
metropolitan city. In the 1950s and early 1960s, city officials
developed plans to construct a major league stadium in order to
change the way the city was viewed. A big league
stadium would change the city's image and help Oakland
lure a professional
sports franchise to the area. Led by Robert Nahas, a nonprofit
corporation was formed to finance and construct the new
stadium. Several sites around Oakland were proposed, but the group
chose a site near the Elmhurst District of East Oakland, as the
site for a stadium. In 1962 the stadium was approved by Alameda
County and the City of Oakland leading to construction the following Spring.
While the stadium was constructed the Raiders played at
stadiums around the Bay Area including
Park and Frank Youell Field.
Originally named the
Oakland Alameda County Coliseum, the stadium was constructed deep
in the ground, allowing fans to enter the stadium on the upper
level and walk down to the field level seats. Completed in four
years the Raiders played their first game at the 45,0000 seat coliseum on
September 18, 1966. Designed to be multipurpose, the
Raiders were the sole tenant of the coliseum for two years.
Following the 1967 baseball season, the Kansas City A's moved to Oakland joining the
Raiders as tenants of the coliseum.
The Oakland Coliseum was built
more for baseball than football. Many of the 45,000 seats were in
three tiers from the right field foul pole and circling around to the left field foul
pole. Bleachers were beyond the outfield wall. The Oakland
Coliseum was converted two ways from baseball to football after the
A’s moved into the stadium. The MLB season overlapped the first
couple of weeks of the NFL season. During this time, the NFL
gridiron was located between home plate and centerfield, making
the conversion process simpler. Once the baseball season was over, the
gridiron was located along the first and third base areas, with bleachers placed in the outfield.
For 15 seasons the Raiders played at the Oakland Coliseum. In the late 1970s Raiders owner Al Davis
wanted the city to renovate the coliseum to add more luxury seats to generate
additional revenue. The
city balked at this plan and Davis moved the team south to the Los Angeles Coliseum after the 1981 season.
Davis incurred the same issues in Los Angeles as he did in Oakland. The Los Angeles Coliseum lacked additional luxury seats, was
in a bad neighborhood and the Raiders had to share the coliseum with the USC Trojans (NCAA). Davis wanted a new
stadium built in Los Angeles but failed. In the late 1980s the Raiders began to negotiate with Oakland to move the team back
if the Oakland Coliseum was expanded. It took over five years for the Raiders and the City of Oakland to reach an agreement to
have the team return to the coliseum. A deal was struck in June 1995 and in November 1995, construction began on a $200 million
project to expand the coliseum, adding 22,000 seats. All of the outfield bleachers were removed and replaced with a four tier grandstand that includes 125 luxury
suites. After a 15 year hiatus, the Raiders returned to Oakland for the 1996 season.
The coliseum has had many names throughout its history, the
Oakland Coliseum, Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, Network
Associates Coliseum, McAfee Coliseum, Overstock Coliseum and its
current name, O.co Coliseum. In 2013, due to a decrease in
attendance the Raiders placed tarps over all seats in the upper
deck on the east side. This reduces the seating capacity to
53,250. New for the 2015 season are two new 36 feet high by 145
feet wide HD video/scoreboards. Costing $10 million they replace
the existing dot-matrix scoreboards. The Raiders are the only team
in the NFL who still share a stadium with a baseball team. Their
future in Oakland is uncertain due to issues trying to have a new
stadium built at the site of the coliseum, but will remain here
atleast for the 2016 season.