Tom Brady’s deal to become Raiders part-owner stalled over price discount

Patriots

The deal would reportedly be unlikely to be ratified at the proposed price despite support among people around the league for Brady to buy a portion of the Raiders.

Tom Brady reportedly came to an agreement to purchase a stake in the Raiders following his retirement. AP Photo/Sam Hodde

The NFL’s approval process for Tom Brady’s proposed deal to purchase a minority ownership stake in the Las Vegas Raiders has stalled, at least in part because of concerns by the league’s finance committee about the discounted price Raiders principal owner Mark Davis is offering Brady, according to three people familiar with the deliberations over the prospective transaction.

While there is support among some league leaders and the finance committee for Davis’s effort to sell a portion of the Raiders to Brady, the deal would be unlikely to be ratified at the proposed price, one of those people said.

It is not clear whether Davis and Brady, the seven-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback for the New England Patriots and Tampa Bay Buccaneers who announced his retirement as an NFL player in February, will revise the deal to address the concerns and allow Brady to enter NFL ownership.

A second person with knowledge of the deliberations said approval of the deal is hung up over several issues, including the discounted price. Those two people and a third person familiar with the process said that, barring a last-minute change, NFL team owners are not expected to ratify Brady’s deal to become a Raiders’ part-owner at their meeting scheduled for Oct. 17-18 in New York.

Any sale of ownership of an NFL franchise, even a minority stake, must be ratified by at least 24 of the 32 owners leaguewide. The owners generally follow the recommendation of the seven-0wner finance committee. There is strong sentiment within the finance committee that the deal “can’t happen at that price” and will not be approved without modifications, one of the people with knowledge of the deliberations said.

Even so, finance committee members and some league leaders generally “want this deal to go through” and believe that “maybe there’s a compromise” to be reached on the price issue, that person said.

The precise terms of Brady’s proposed purchase are not known. The Raiders are worth an estimated $6.2 billion, according to Forbes’s NFL team valuations released in August. In July, the owners approved the sale of the Washington Commanders from Daniel Snyder to a group led by private equity investor Josh Harris for an NFL-record $6.05 billion.

It is believed that Davis is selling Brady between five and 10 percent of the Raiders. Minority shares of a sports franchise generally are sold at a discount from the applicable percentage of the team’s full value, given that limited partners in the franchise usually have little to no say over major operational decisions. But in this case, Davis may be giving Brady a discount of as much as approximately 70 percent, one of the people with knowledge of the deliberations said.

Neither Davis nor the Raiders immediately responded to requests for comment, and Brady was not available to comment. The NFL declined to comment.

Forbes estimated in February that Brady earned more than $530 million from playing contracts and off-field business ventures during his 23 NFL seasons. Brady, who turned 46 in August, has lined up a deal with Fox reportedly worth $375 million over 10 years to join the network’s NFL broadcast booth. He has said that he plans to join Fox next season. His discussions about purchasing an ownership stake in the Raiders were confirmed in May by a person familiar with the talks.

The WNBA this week approved Brady’s deal to acquire an ownership stake in the Las Vegas Aces, another franchise Davis owns. Brady and Davis announced that deal in March.

Brady is the NFL’s career leader in passing yards and touchdown passes, among many other categories. He was a three-time league MVP and a five-time Super Bowl MVP. He announced his retirement as a player in a video posted Feb. 1 to social media. Brady said his retirement was “for good” this time, after he retired, changed his mind and returned to play for the Buccaneers last season.

The issues the finance committee raised appear likely to prolong the approval process but don’t necessarily guarantee that the deal will be scrapped.

In the Commanders sale, the finance committee initially raised concerns about the structure of Harris’s deal, believing it to be above the NFL’s $1.1 billion debt limit for franchise acquisitions. Harris agreed to make the necessary adjustments, and the deal eventually received a unanimous recommendation by the committee, leading to a unanimous ratification vote by the owners July 20 in Bloomington, Minn.

Another possible issue in Brady’s purchase is related to a measure the owners ratified in July. They voted then to prohibit team employees who are not family members of the owner from being given ownership stakes in franchises, according to the Sports Business Journal. So Brady’s purchase of an ownership stake in the Raiders would prevent him from returning to play or taking another official position within the organization.

Brady’s pending Fox deal could be an additional concern to some of those involved in the approval process. If Brady’s purchase is not ratified at this month’s owners’ meeting and he and Davis continue to pursue the deal, the next opportunity for approval probably would come at the owners’ meeting scheduled for Dec. 12-13 in Irving, Tex.


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