Could Tom Brady Succeed Mark Davis as Raiders Owner?
By Keith Ricci
ESPN broke news Friday morning that Tom Brady is in “deep discussions” to become a minority owner of the Las Vegas Raiders.
Knowing that Brady recently partnered with Raiders owner Mark Davis to become a minority owner of the Las Vegas Aces, makes Friday’s gossip feel legitimate. While comparing the finances of a WNBA team to an NFL team is apples and oranges, it’s fair to say the two sides know how to get a deal done with each other, numbers aside.
My immediate reaction is what’s the benefit to the Raiders? Why is this something Mark Davis wants to do? Sure, there’s an immediate financial gain for Davis. Also, it generates buzz for a franchise that’s lost more than it’s won since coming to Las Vegas. And not to mention that having Brady as a Raider makes an already strong brand that much stronger.
All of that is obvious. I mean Davis could sell to anyone, there’s a long list of wealthy people ready to invest in an NFL team – but this is about making a splash. This is about Brady being a Raider.
Consider the other minority owners of the Raiders. Can you even name one of them? Probably not, and that would make sense. Al Davis sold a stake in the team to a group in 2007. They’re all silent partners, who probably don’t even watch football. It was solely a financial transaction for them and for the Raiders – mutually beneficial.
But selling to Brady is meant to be a loud statement, nothing “silent” about it, regardless of what his initial involvement ends up being. This is about Davis locking him up long-term, making Brady here to stay, even if it’s only a small stake to start. Davis showing him the ropes of NFL ownership, and perhaps an eventual transition of power, could be the ultimate outcome.
I briefly mentioned in my last piece, how the NFL forces each team to submit a succession plan. This is something teams do every summer, assuring the league has the most up-to-date detailed strategy for when the owner isn’t the owner anymore.
The Davis Family is the 9th longest-tenured owners in the league. But with Mark Davis being the only child of Al and Carol Davis, and with no children of his own, what is his succession plan? Who owns the Raiders when there isn’t a Davis left?
Could Tom Brady be the next Raiders owner?
Should Father Time allow, 67-year-old Mark Davis might have another two decades as an active owner. Which means, with no direct descendants to inherit the team, the Davis Family era could conclude two decades from now.
Sure, that seems far out in the future. But to put it in perspective, it feels like just yesterday we watched Rich Gannon sling the ball to Tim Brown and Jerry Rice, and somehow that was two decades ago.
About two-thirds of all NFL owners are older than Mark Davis, so he’s young in that sense. But he is at that age where you have to think about this stuff. And again, the league forces owners to think about it every year when they require teams to submit their succession plan.
So maybe this is where Mark Davis’ head is at. He’s thinking of the long-term health of the organization. Perhaps, the benefit of Tom Brady being involved now is that he eventually takes full ownership of the Raiders, and this is just him getting his “foot in the door”. Davis wants to leave the Raiders in good hands – and what better hands than ones with 7 Super Bowl rings on them.
I have no evidence that Mark Davis feels this way. I want to be clear this is an opinion piece! I just have a suspicion that there is more to Davis’ attraction to Brady than being able to add his name to the team website under the “ownership” section because it looks cool. Again, he could sell a stake in his family’s team to anyone, but he’s choosing to make this happen with Brady.
I don’t think there’s any negative to this business deal – especially if it’s a low percentage stake – it’d be low risk, high reward. Everything I’ve mentioned above is a positive for the Raiders. This partnership could start as a small stake that grows to a larger piece of the pie, this happens in all sports, which would only further support my opinion that Brady could be Mark Davis’ successor. And if that ends up happening, all that’s left to do is – just win, Brady.