The Las Vegas Aces announced today that Las Vegas Raiders owner Mark Davis has purchased the Aces from MGM Resorts International.
George Kliavkoff, the President of Entertainment & Sports, MGM Resorts International said in a statement:
“We can confirm we have entered into an agreement to sell the Las Vegas Aces to Mark Davis and are awaiting approval from the WNBA Board of Governors. Mark is a longtime champion of women’s basketball and we believe he is the right person to lead the Aces into a new era. We will continue our enthusiastic support of the WNBA, NBA, and basketball in Las Vegas.”
Mark Davis, son of longtime legendary Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis, said:
“I am excited to announce that I have entered into an agreement to purchase the Las Vegas franchise in the WNBA from MGM Resorts International. I will have more to say once I receive official approval from the WNBA Board of Governors and have had a chance to speak with the players, coaches, and administrators of the team.”
The sale comes out of nowhere to WNBA fans, who did not know that MGM was looking to sell the Aces. MGM originally purchased the Aces only three and a half years ago in October 2017 from Spurs Sports And Entertainment, the owner of the San Antonio Spurs.
When MGM purchased the team, they were known as the San Antonio Stars. MGM moved the franchise to Las Vegas and rebranded them as the Aces (like any casino would). The team played at the Mandalay Bay Events Center located on the Vegas strip for the 2018 and 2019 seasons.
Now that Mark Davis has purchased the Aces, he will own two major pieces of the Las Vegas sports scene. After moving the Raiders to Vegas for the 2020 NFL season, it only makes sense for Davis to want to own the WNBA franchise that his football team now shares a city with.
Davis is known to have been a frequent attendee of Aces games, something that you love to hear about an incoming owner.
He has demonstrated a genuine interest in the Aces franchise (regardless of if those motivations are financially driven) and the development of a thriving Las Vegas sports culture. Considering Davis just moved the Raiders to Las Vegas, the Aces don’t have to worry about moving locations again. The Aces are here to stay in Vegas.
A partnership between the Raiders and Aces can also be extremely interesting, as the WNBA would certainly benefit and gain exposure from the NFL’s support. While some WNBA teams are also owned by NBA teams, there is no WNBA franchise that is also owned by an NFL franchise.
Davis can build support for the Aces using his NFL resources, which is uncharted waters for the WNBA to be in. Even simple social media posts between the two organizations can go a long way in exposing the Aces and the WNBA to NFL fans.
Mark Davis also brings a family history that is more friendly to sports fans than having a team owned by a casino. Mark’s father Al Davis is one of the biggest legends in football history. He is the only executive in NFL history to be an assistant coach, head coach, general manager, commissioner, and owner. Davis won the Superbowl three times with the Raiders in 1977, 1981, and 1984.
Al Davis turned the Oakland Raiders into one of the NFL’s most classic franchises, and Mark Davis is known as an owner who doesn’t interfere with football operations and only handles the business side of the Raiders.
Sports fandom is all about narratives that are passed down to the next generation, and Mark Davis has the exact narrative you want for someone to own your sports franchise. There is no doubt that Davis will bring stability to the Aces franchise in Las Vegas and usher in a new era of professional sports in the state of Nevada.
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AP Photo/Brynn Anderson, File