The NFL’s Raiders are moving from Oakland to Las Vegas in time for the 2020 season, but for now they are lame ducks in the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.
Teams playing in less-than-perfect stadium arrangements tend to seek out alternative solutions whenever possible (see: Vikings vs. Steelers in London in 2013, the last year of the Metrodome), but I have to admit I did realize the Raiders were scheduled to play the Packers in a preseason game in two weeks in Winnipeg of all places.
And its an Oakland home game!
The cheapest ticket as of right now on Ticketmaster — the upper corners of the upper deck, mind you, of IG Field in Winnipeg — are $169 Canadian (about $127 in U.S. dollars).
Given that these are two teams with what I would imagine have very little appeal to Winnipeg residents, and that tickets are priced at a deep gouging rate, how would you imagine sales are going?
Oh, not well?
You are correct, at least according to a tweet from Winnipeg-based journalist Carter Brooks, who says the game is on pace to draw fewer than 9,000 fans — a little more than a quarter of the 33,000-seat capacity. (Note: I’m not sure if that means there are 9,000 sold now or if that’s the projected final total. Either way, not good).
The Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the CFL, by the way, have drawn more than 24,000 for each of their regular-season home games this year and drew 19,000 for their preseason home game.
I have a soft spot for Winnipeg, since it is the nearest large city to my hometown (Grand Forks, N.D., about a two-hour drive). It would almost be worth it to head up there to witness this very weird all-important third preseason game in person.
If Aaron Rodgers hates joint practices, I wonder what he’s going to think about preseason football north of the border.