Tuesday December 5, 2023

Details Emerge Surrounding Raiders Exodus As Investigation Launches

  • Four executives have left the Raiders in recent months, including team president Marc Badain.
  • Turnover comes as Raiders are set to welcome fans to $2 billion Allegiant Stadium.
Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports
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The reasons behind the departure of four Las Vegas Raiders executives this summer remain largely unknown outside the organization, although some details have begun to emerge. 

The exits come as the team has launched an internal investigation, two sources with knowledge of the matter told Front Office Sports. That investigation — which is being assisted by lawyers outside the club — is a factor in why the Raiders haven’t publicly disclosed the reasons for those departures. 

Marc Badain, who served as team president for more than six years, is the biggest front office name to announce his exit. He’d been an employee with the team since 1991 before he announced his resignation last month. CFO Ed Villanueva, Controller Araxie Grant, and Brandon Doll, vice president of strategy and business development, have also left the organization since June. 

The NFL is not currently involved in the investigation, sources told FOS. 

NBC Sports’ Peter King reported on Aug. 2 there were “lots of theories” on Badain’s unexpected resignation. Longtime NFL reporter Jason Cole reported that team was in “the process of hiring an outside law firm.”

“The successful construction and operation of Allegiant Stadium has been unequivocally the most challenging part of my 30 years with the organization,” Badain said in a statement to ESPN. “Seeing it through to the end has been rewarding beyond measure. Together the Raiders and Las Vegas accomplished what seemed impossible. Now that the project is complete it is time for me to focus on my family and look ahead to new pursuits.”

Messages left for Badain, Grant, Villanueva, and Doll by FOS were not returned. 

The Raiders — the 16th-most valuable NFL franchise at $3.415 billion, according to Forbes — were arguably hit hardest financially by the pandemic compared to the other NFL teams. According to TicketIQ, the club lost an estimated $571 million in ticket revenue in 2020 when the pandemic forced the Raiders and 13 other NFL teams to play home games minus fans. 

Raiders tickets, however, remain in high demand despite the delayed fan debut. 

Seats for regular-season Raiders home games are averaging $837 on the secondary market, according to SeatGeek. That’s double the average price for 30 of the 32 NFL teams; the Patriots are currently averaging $636 for home games. 

Another theory was that the turnover was linked to team ownership’s brewing concerns over the fan experience at Allegiant Stadium. 

The stadium has 6,000 parking spaces — 4,500 fewer than SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles, the new home of the Rams and Chargers — and fans who attended the CONCACAF Gold Cup Final between the U.S. and Mexico on Aug. 1 resorted to paying $100 or more to park at nearby casinos.

But multiple sources told FOS that the stadium’s logistical issues — which are being addressed by team and local officials — were not the cause for any of the executive departures. 

“Those [executive] departures aren’t over traffic issues or anything like that,” a source told FOS. 

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