Home Sports Mark Davis: ‘Nothing wrong’ with Aces sponsorship that sparked WNBA probe, points to Caitlin Clark shoe deal

Mark Davis: ‘Nothing wrong’ with Aces sponsorship that sparked WNBA probe, points to Caitlin Clark shoe deal

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Mark Davis wants to know why there's a problem with $100,000 endorsements for Aces players while Caitlin Clark reportedly has an 8-figure deal with Nike. (Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

Las Vegas Aces owners Mark Davis say “absolutely nothing wrong” was done in a $1.2 million player endorsement deal that reportedly sparked a WNBA investigation into the franchise.

Davis made his comments to Jonathan Jones of CBS Sports Wednesday at the NFL owners’ meetings in Nashville. Davis is also the owner of the NFL’s Las Vegas Raiders.

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority announced Friday that it will sponsor all 12 Aces players with bids of $100,000. The LVCVA announced the sponsorships in a video of President and CEO Steve Hill speaking with Aces players in his locker room.

“The offer is really simple,” Hill said. “We want you to just play. We want you to continue representing Las Vegas, and if you get a hat trick, that’s the icing on the cake. That’s it.”

According to multiple reports, The WNBA is now investigating the sponsorships.. The WNBA has a strict salary cap of $1.46 million that the sponsorship deal nearly matches. Individual endorsement deals of $100,000 exceed the salaries of half of the team’s players and they only require them to play basketball.

According to Callie Lawson-Freeman of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the LVCVA arranged sponsorships directly with the players’ agents and actively avoided coordinating with the team to avoid violating WNBA salary cap rules. Hill told the Review-Journal that the LVCVA has “over 100 influencers that we pay regularly” to promote the city.

Davis defended the deals in his comments to CBS Sports.

“Absolutely nothing wrong was done,” Davis said. “And I think it’s sad that they used the word investigation instead of something a little softer to say, ‘Hey, we could look into it,’ or whatever. But they’ll find out there’s nothing wrong.”

He then suggested a double standard while pointing out an eight-figure endorsement deal for the Indiana Fever rookie with Nike.

“Nike owns the WNBA and is allowed to sponsor Caitlin Clark for $28 million for one player,” Davis continued. “And no one complains or investigates.

“And I think it’s great that Nike is doing that. But let’s give credit where it’s due: the Las Vegas Convention Authority is stepping up and recognizing these women.”

Davis also advocated for more financial opportunities for all WNBA players.

“If we can actually get them hundreds of thousands of dollars or get millions of dollars for all the players, they’ll be able to stay in the community,” Davis said. “They don’t have to go abroad to play. They will have the resources to stay and work in the community, work with young children and all that.”

This is the second time in two years that the WNBA has investigated the Aces. The league determined last year that the Aces promised “impermissible benefits” to former player Dearica Hamby after Hamby accused the Aces of trading her because she was pregnant.

“They promised me things to entice me to sign the extension of my contract and they were not fulfilled,” Hamby said as part of his complaint on Instagram.

The WNBA suspended head coach Becky Hammon for two games and rescinded a 2025 draft pick at the conclusion of two separate investigations that determined the team offered Hamby “impermissible benefits” and violated the WNBA’s Respect in the Workplace policies. the league with comments about her pregnancy.

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