A day after the team’s biggest win, the owners continued to be concerned by anemic attendance figures. Yesterday’s game drew 11,500, consistent with the numbers for previous home games, but still disappointing. Some members of the ownership group thought the $4.50 top price was simply too high.
“It’s too late to do anything about it this season,” said Don Blessing, “but next year I think we’ll quite definitely have to drop our prices. It’s obvious that people aren’t ready to pay the same price as for the 49ers,” and thought $3.00 to be about right.
Fellow owner Ed McGah wanted to go even lower. “I’d like to see the price cut in half to $2.25,” he said. “We expected to lose this year and maybe next year, but not this much.”
Chet Soda cautioned his colleagues not to be so hasty. “The team is starting to roll and that is our primary concern right now,” he said. “We have two deals now for fans to buy tickets at a reduced price and Sunday only 71 people took advantage of them. I think the attendance will pick up as the team catches on with people. We have an owner’s meeting scheduled tomorrow and I’m sure we’ll discuss the matter further, along with other subjects.” He also said he and his fellow owners were “real proud of the team and starting to smell roses.”
Hayward Daily Review
San Mateo Times
While the team was flying to Massachusetts, Raider owners Chet Soda and Wayne Valley were in New York trying to persuade Joe Cronin and Dan Topping of the American League to put an expansion baseball team in Oakland. The trip was all part of an effort to drum up support for public funding of a stadium in the East Bay. Fellow owners Robert Osborne and Ed McGah and Oakland mayor Clifford Rishell were also involved in the process. The passage of a bond issue slated for the fall election was at stake and the group hoped the prospect of a baseball team coming to town would boost their chances.
Soda thought the cost of a American League franchise would be in the neighborhood of $500,000 to $750,000 and said that if they couldn’t get a stadium in Oakland soon, the Raiders might have to move to San Francisco permanently.
The Raiders held their second scrimmage of camp and this time owners Don Blessing, Ed McGah, Chet Soda, and Wayne Valley were there to observe. Tom Flores led the first-string “gold” squad while Paul Larson ran the second-string “blue” team. Observers thought Larson’s group performed slightly better, with Larson showing a knack for the bootleg run, but also thought both units showed real improvement since the first scrimmage, four days ago. Head coach Eddie Erdelatz singled out offensive linemen Wayne Hawkins, Jim Otto, and Ron Sabal, along with cornerback Joe Cannavino, for praise, and thought the defense in general showed good speed to the ball.
“It was a better scrimmage than last Tuesday”, according to Erdelatz, “but overall I would have to say it was just fair. The running was improved but we dropped too many passes. The defensive line pursuit was fine. We are getting better in all departments and, considering the short amount of practice, we don’t look too bad.”
In another stunning reversal, the AFL awarded the eighth and final franchise to the city of Oakland. Much of the credit for the change went to Chargers owner Barron Hilton. Hilton, who had been out of town for previous votes, made a strong plea upon his return for choosing Oakland. And on the league’s fifth ballot, the California city was chosen unanimously. Commissioner Joe Foss gave three reasons for the decision: the creation of a west coast rival for Los Angeles, the Oakland community’s strong show of interest, and better geographic balance than would have been provided by a team in Atlanta. Foss also credited a strong presentation by Chet Soda, Wayne Valley, and in particular, Robert Osborne.
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