Al Davis, the longtime owner of the Oakland Raiders, died on October 8 at his Oakland house at the age of 82. The Raiders have fallen on difficult times of late, however Al Davis crafted a tradition of winning over his 40 years as Raiders owner. The Raiders won an American Football League champion back before the merger, and after the NFL and AFL combined they recorded three Super Bowl titles.
Davis offered 20% of his interest in the Raiders a number of years ago, and the earnings from the sale are presumably part of his estate. There is a 35% estate tax to compete with, and with an exemption of just $5 million you are looking at a terrific deal of possible estate tax exposure when you examine the Davis situation.
Oftentimes the successors to such a big ownership percentage have to sell the team in order to pay the estate tax. Davis’ wife, Carol, and his boy, Mark, will take the helm and the Davis name will continue to be inextricably intertwined with that of the Oakland Raiders.
Pro football franchise ownership puts one in rarefied financial business to be sure.