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<I>Raider Nation</I> DVD Profiles Team&#39;s Unique Fans

2 Nov, 2003 By: Dan Bennett

Raging lunatics, or simply misunderstood? Careful, many Oakland Raiders fans may prefer the former.

Raider Nation (DVD $19.95) seeks to chronicle one of the most notorious sports cults in history, the large, eccentric -- and sometimes incarcerated -- fans of the National Football League's Raiders. The title is due Nov. 4 from Rise Above Entertainment, a division of VAS Entertainment.

“There is no stronger fan base in America,” said Scot Burns, director of marketing for Rise Above. “It's the closest thing we have to English soccer fans.”

Raiders fans are found in every large U.S. city, according to the film's producers, and fans from several different states are interviewed in the piece. Viewers discover why some Raiders paint not only their faces, but their homes black and silver, and swear an allegiance to a team long known for its aggressive antics. “It's a lifestyle piece, and that's what the [Rise Above] label is about,” said president Eric Boyd. “We try to figure out what's going on in the heads of these people.”

The title will get a regional and national push, Boyd said. In addition to e-mail blasts, sell sheets and POP materials, Rise Above is using taxi cabs, park benches and telephone booths to spread the word.

Beyond the hoopla, the content seeks to show Raiders fans not only when they are screaming and salivating, but also quietly reflective of their loyalty in their own surprisingly peaceful homes. “This is all part of the reality phenomenon, in a way, because Raiders fans are as real as it gets,” Burns said.

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