Las Vegas Raiders: A Winning Bet or Losing Gamble?

Vegas Raiders

The Oakland Raiders are usually looking to score some treasure on the football field.  But it looks like they finally hit the jackpot and are going to bring their marauding ways to a new city–Las Vegas.

Last Monday, he owners in the National Football League approved a vote that will allow the Oakland Raiders to move to Las Vegas, Nevada.

In anticipation of this move, in August 2016, the  Oakland Raiders, A California Limited Partnership filed three federal trademark applications with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) for the LAS VEGAS RAIDERS.  Their trademark applications cover a wide variety of goods and services ranging anywhere from ear muffs and underwear to christmas tree ornaments, decorative wind socks, and kites.  

Some of the goods and services covered by the trademark applications include:

  • “Education and entertainment services in the nature of professional football games and exhibitions; providing sports and entertainment information via a global computer network or a commercial on-line computer service or by cable, satellite, television and radio; presentation of live shows featuring football games, football exhibitions, and football competitions; presentation of live shows featuring music and dance performances in connection with athletic events and community service events; organizing sporting and cultural events featuring football” in Class 041.
  • “Football helmets; cell phone covers; decorative magnets; light switch covers; mouse pads” in Class 009
  • “Clothing, footwear and headwear, namely, caps, hats, visors, headbands, ear muffs, wristbands, tops, T-shirts, tank tops, knit tops, sleepwear, golf shirts, sweaters, sweatshirts, turtlenecks, jackets, neckties, bibs not of paper, jerseys, coats, robes, ponchos, sneakers, gloves, scarves, mittens, aprons, shorts, sweatpants, jeans, pants, socks, underwear, swimwear, rompers” in Class 025.
  • “Trading cards; newsletters relating to football; notepads; stickers; bumper stickers; pens; pencils; paper flags and pennants; greeting cards; tickets to sports games and events; tissue paper; wrapping paper;  paper napkins; paper party invitations; paper party decorations” in Class 016.
  • “Play figures; board games; balloons; stuffed toy animals; Christmas tree ornaments; jigsaw puzzles; toy and decorative wind socks; kites; pet toys; toy vehicles; billiard balls; dart boards; playing cards; paper party hats” in Class 028.

The Raiders filed each of their trademark applications on an “intent-to-use” basis, since this mark is not yet used in commerce (makes sense since they aren’t the Las Vegas Raiders yet), but has a bona fide intention to do so in the future.

The Raiders were founded in 1960 as a charter member of the American Football League, and officially joined the NFL in 1970.  The franchise has once three championship titles 1976 (XI), 1980 (XV), 1983 (XVIII).

For many years, professional sports leagues were so afraid of game-fixing that they did not think that Las Vegas was worthy of consideration for a professional sports team–since it is the country’s gambling mecca.

However, sentiment about sports teams in Vegas has evolved and changed.  Vegas has already landed one big league team, the Vegas Golden Knights, and now Vegas will also have a NFL team with the Raiders.

A few months ago the Raiders’ plan to move into the brand-new $1.9 billion domed football stadium took a major hit after they lost a major financial backer, casino mogul Sheldon Adelson.  Adelson angrily withdrew from the Raiders’ stadium deal, which also means a withdrawal of $650 million that he had previously committed to the stadium project. Nevertheless, the Raiders reiterated its intention to relocate to Vegas when the facility is ready.

However, in losing a large financial backer the move has become a much riskier proposition for Davis and one that would require him to figure out a way to offset the sizeable amount of debt he would incur by seeking the money via loan.   But it seems that Davis has convinced the other owners that this relocation will be profitable and worth leaving one of the league’s top television markets in Northern California.

The Raiders are relocating to Vegas.  Will it be a losing bet?  No one can say for sure, but it is definitely a gamble.

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CHELSEA WOLD, is a law clerk for LegalForce RAPC. She received her Juris Doctor degree from Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law, Arizona State University in May 2016. On the personal side, Chelsea has her own blog that she started as a journalism major in college.