NBA Legend Magic Johnson Is in Negotiations to Buy Record-Breaking Interest in NFL Team

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NBA icon Earvin “Magic“ Johnson is actively pursuing a stake in the NFL’s Las Vegas Raiders. Sports franchise deal records may be broken if the agreement is finalized, according to sources with knowledge of the negotiations.

Since his retirement, 25 years ago, Johnson, the former Los Angeles Lakers superstar who’s widely recognized as the best point guard of all time, has been involved in a variety of sports-related business ventures. He has apparently been gathering a team of investors in recent weeks to attempt and launch a move for a minority stake in the Raiders. He’s currently a part-owner of the MLB’s Los Angeles Dodgers. To be more precise, Johnson’s company, Magic Johnson Enterprises, now holds stock in the Dodgers as well as other well-known U.S. brands like Burger King and Starbucks.

According to reports, the Raiders, who are majority owned by the Davis (Mark and Carol, who inherited ownership from Allen) family, are doing their study. The cost of the minority stake wasn’t made public. However, Forbes reported in August that an unknown investor had made the Raiders a minority offer valued at $6.5 billion. Johnson may not have been the investor in question, but even so, the $6.5 billion valuation would be a significant milestone for American professional sports, let alone American football. It would cost more than recently paid for ownership of the Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos. That would certainly surpass recent transactions for the Premier League’s Chelsea team and set a record for any professional sports organization.

Johnson First Expressed Interest in Getting Involved with Raiders 10 Years Ago

Johnson has long indicated an interest in buying a stake in the Raiders. When the team was looking for public funding to build a new stadium in its original home of Oakland, California, 10 years ago, the 63-year-old Johnson had previously expressed interest in acquiring a stake in the Raiders. Johnson was mentioned in connection with a potential investment to relocate the team to Los Angeles, where it competed professionally throughout the 1980s and won 5 NBA championships, and was named MVP 3 times, but no such arrangement ever happened. The Raiders were dominating in the LA Coliseum when he was winning titles with the Lakers, thanks to players like Marcus Allen and Howie Long, who led the team to a Super Bowl victory in 1984.

The Raiders and the NFL were sued by the city of Oakland in 2018 for allegedly breaking antitrust laws when they relocated to Las Vegas. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear their case earlier this month. The Raiders’ former hometown had requested $240 million in compensation for lost tax revenue and investment due to their relocation.
Black Majority Ownership Not So Widespread throughout NFL
The potential Johnson-Raiders agreement would uphold the custom of expensive football teams. At least 16 NFL teams with a value of at least $4 billion exist, according to Axios. With a stated value of $7.6 billion, the Dallas Cowboys will have the highest valuation in 2022. The Cincinnati Bengals, the league’s lowest-valued team, are nonetheless estimated to be worth $2.8 billion.

The absence of black owners in the NFL has drawn criticism. Progress has been made by involving Magic, but a significant hurdle still stands in the way: a Black majority owner.

Due to league rules requiring the major owner of a team to own at least 30% of the business and limiting the total number of owners to 24, there is a clubby atmosphere at the top. When the Broncos were sold, the league allegedly contemplated providing an exception to those regulations to widen the range of potential buyers.

The Raiders experienced racial discrimination last season as well. Last year, emails from the former head coach Jon Gruden that contained racial slurs were made public. Mark Davis, the team’s majority owner and a staunch supporter of diversity in the NFL, promptly fired Gruden.

The historic NFL franchise has benefitted greatly from its move to Las Vegas. Al Davis, the first owner of the Raiders, was a titan of the sports world and a brilliant businessman. Although Magic joining the team would undoubtedly be a “win, baby“ for the team, he is irreplaceable.

Disagreement Not Excluded in This Case

The NFL’s stringent ownership regulations have preserved the heritage of long-term owners—mostly illustrious families—who have established themselves as responsible franchise managers throughout time. The sport was created by families like the Rooneys, Maras, and Davises, and families like the Joneses, Krafts, and Kroenkes helped it become a juggernaut.

The flood of foreign capital from billionaires in the Gulf and elsewhere trying to diversify their holdings and acquire goodwill and influence in the West has shielded the league from another trend in international sports. Some supporters are angered by the buying binge, which saw Russian oligarchs and Saudi royals acquire legendary football teams in the U.K. and an NBA franchise go to a Russian oligarch. They feel that their teams are being used to promote despots.

Johnson couldn’t be reached for comment by the media, and his investment company didn’t respond to queries. Inquiries for comment weren’t answered by a Raiders spokesman. The NFL, which would have to consent to any transaction, didn’t reply right too.

The Raiders are currently in 3rd place in the AFC West Division with a record of 2-4, with their match coming up against New Orleans Saints on October 30 within Round 8. The Raiders are favorites in the away match on online sportsbooks that stand out with deposit bonuses.

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