The O.co Colisuem Experience:
- A review by Hans Steiniger
Overstock.com Coliseum in Oakland California is home of the Oakland Raiders and some of the craziest, most raucous fans in the National Football League. I was in Oakland for the season opener on Monday Night Football, to get a first hand look at what it's like to be a part of the ever present Raider Nation. I went in costume as the Jokeraider … silver and black with fluorescent hair and armed with some great seats from TicketCity.com.
First off, Raider fans love their team. If you're planning to enter Overstock.com Coliseum wearing opponent's colors, be warned … you are not welcome there. I was in town as the Denver Broncos took on the Oakland Raiders, and there were a few Broncos fans in attendance. Each and every one of them was mercilessly harassed for wearing Broncos gear. I've been in several visiting stadiums before, and there's generally friendly ribbing among fans, but the residents of Raider Nation are not shy about using every manner of expletive to emphasize their point. The amazing thing was that it wasn't just a few select groups harassing visitor fans, it was every fan. I watched a fifty-seven year old woman chastise this poor guy mercilessly for wearing a Champ Bailey jersey, and the Broncos were ahead! The lesson to be learned here is that if you plan to support your home team at Overstock.com, be prepared to deal with an inordinate amount of verbal javelins being hurled at you from every direction.
Tailgating in the parking lot is an experience in itself. The parking lot generally opens five hours before game time and parking lot attendants direct you to your space, so if you're planning to park with friends, be sure to meet up outside the lot and drive in together. Parking costs $25, but once you're in, the Oakland Raider fans fill the aisleways between cars with pop-up tents, full sized grills, and flat screen TV's. There is some limited RV Parking, but RV passes are offered to season ticket holders and must be purchased in advance. Once settled, a quick walk around is a must, as Raider Nation has established a carnival atmosphere in an around the parking lot as fans get ready for game time. Costumes are donned, alcoholic beverages of choice are consumed, and every manner of tailgating game is on display. Raider fans know how to tailgate.
Overstock.com Coliseum itself is an older facility, built in 1966 and it's a dual use facility, doubling as the Home of the Oakland A's. The concourses are narrow, and it can be difficult getting around, but the concessions are very good and there's a wide selection of brews. The environment at game time is electric, even in a loss, and as long as you're wearing the right colors, it's a very enjoyable experience. Glancing down at the Black Hole in the South Endzone, you might recognize some of the diehards from an NFL Films Production or the game day broadcasts from televised games. Most of these guys are very approachable and are more than happy to take pictures. All in all, Raider Nation was everything I'd hoped it would be. For more on my trip to Overstock.com Coliseum, check out my review on www.nflfootballstadiums.com.