Mark Davis Oakland Raiders To Las Vegas Moves Put NFL, Team, In Trouble
I was asked to comment on Oakland Raiders Owner Mark Davis’ overtures toward building a stadium in Las Vegas. Initially, I was going to avoid any public expression of opinion, but after analyzing Davis’ actions with respect to NFL rules and anti-trust law, I felt compelled to do so. (Also, one does not have to be a practicing lawyer to know the law).
Mark Davis moves are, from a legal perspective, dangerous for the Oakland Raiders, the NFL, and himself.
First, Davis admission that he bought the URL LasVegasRaiders.com is of concern in my opinion because NFL Rules state that “Club Marks” (and that includes URLs) must have NFL approval before they are established. In this case, Davis bought the URL in 1998, but then recently stated his intent to use it as part of an effort to move the Raiders from Oakland to Las Vegas. Thus, Davis by action causes the URL to be considered a Club Mark – one done without league backing.
Second, If the Raiders did have a stadium in Las Vegas, there’s nothing to stop a Vegas-based company from developing tech that allows real time betting on various aspects of play – and doing this under the nose of the NFL. If Vegas-based interests are building the stadium, and not the NFL, what’s to stop that from happening? Moreover, what’s to stop those same interests from working a deal to have a player act in a way that amounts to fixing a game, even if it’s for a few plays?
Third, Mark Davis and the NFL have a set of franchise relocation rules that are contradictory. A team can’t act in exhausting all of its options in building a new stadium, yet spend time trying to get one going in another city. Take Davis and the Raiders, who said they hired Larry McNeil as Business Affairs Rep in February, but did not tell the media or the fans he would not start until April. That gave Mark Davis the three month window of time he needed to build relationships in Las Vegas and not Oakland. That sets up a powerful list of causes of action the City of Oakland and East Bay Entities could sue the Raiders on, and prevail, if not on all counts, then on a significant part of them.
Mark Davis should quit while he’s behind. He’s playing with fire, and will cause a very hot match to be struck.