Las Vegas Raiders owner Mark Davis told ESPN on Monday he has “come to an agreement” with future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady to join the organization’s ownership group, pending NFL approval. Sports Illustrated also confirmed Brady’s minority stake. Here’s what you need to know:
- Davis has been looking for a limited partner and was in talks with Magic Johnson a year ago. Johnson wound up being a part of the Commanders’ new ownership group.
- Brady has previously bought ownership stakes in the Las Vegas Aces of the WNBA and a pickleball expansion team in the MLP. Davis is also the primary owner of the Aces.
- Brady, 45, retired in February following a historic 23-year career, winning seven Super Bowls.
The Athletic’s instant analysis:
What does this mean for Brady’s broadcasting future?
Sports television entities punted long ago on the notion that their broadcasters can’t have some kind of ownership stake in teams. The question usually comes down to optics: Are you comfortable having your broadcaster call games or discuss said team? Usually, the answer is yes.
In the case of Brady, as ESPN originally reported, Fox has blessed the arrangement based on sourcing. That tracks historically with all networks. If you are a tennis fan, for instance, you have long watched broadcasters analyze matches while actively coaching other players on tour. Brady, if he does land in the broadcasting booth in 2024, will be the highest-paid and most famous front-facing staffer at Fox Sports. The company isn’t going to derail that simply because of an obvious conflict of interest.
My rule of thumb, and you don’t have to follow it, is this: If someone has a financial stake in something, you should proceed with caution, not necessarily about what they are saying, but what they don’t say. If Brady ends up with a piece of the Raiders, I’m going to bypass everything he says about the franchise outside of game analysis. But as far as whether it will be an issue for Fox, no chance. — Deitsch
Davis, Brady deepen their connection
The origin of Davis and Brady’s business relationship began last May when the former NFL quarterback attended an Aces game. The two caught up at the contest in a conversation that would eventually lead to Brady purchasing a partial ownership stake in the Aces in March.
“I think he was just really impressed with how far women’s basketball has come,” Davis told The Athletic in March. “And he was also impressed by the excitement and the enthusiasm of the crowd in Las Vegas. He knew that I was in it, and I think he just felt he wanted to be a part of it. And so, his people contacted me, and we talked about it, and he became a partner in the world champion Las Vegas Aces.”
That ultimately evolved into Brady also pursuing a minority ownership stake in the Raiders. Davis was open to considering the idea of selling a piece of the franchise when Johnson expressed interest in ownership last October, but the deal didn’t come together and the NBA Hall of Fame point guard ended up buying a stake in the Commanders instead in April. Rather than punt on the idea altogether, he agreed to have talks with Brady, who he’d formed a stronger relationship with in recent months, and this is the culmination.
It’s an ironic turn of events considering Brady was frequently linked to the Raiders this offseason as a potential replacement for Derek Carr. Brady eliminated that possibility when he elected to retire, but he ended up a Raider after all. — Reed
Along with the Aces and future pickleball team, Brady has previously been linked with NFL ownership. In 2022, after his initial retirement, there were multiple reports that Brady was in discussion with the Miami Dolphins to become a minority owner.
The Dolphins were later sanctioned by the NFL for this impermissible contact with Brady, as he was still under contract with the Buccaneers. Miami was forced to forfeit its first-round selection in the 2023 NFL Draft and a third-round selection in the 2024 NFL Draft.
Brady reportedly signed a 10-year, $375 million deal to join Fox as a broadcaster shortly after retiring.
(Photo: Ethan Miller / Getty Images)