Speculate to accumulate

In one of the worst kept secrets in US sport, it was announced earlier this week that the Oakland Raiders NFL side would upsticks and move lock, stock and barrel to Las Vegas as of the 2020 American Football Season.

It seems amazing to outsiders to US sport that Sin City has never had a professional sports team – it has a population of over 2 million within the metropolitan area and the most populated city in the state of Nevada.  The main reason for this is down to the perceived risks in sports betting, with Nevada having some of the most relaxed laws on gaming and gambling in the US.

The Raiders won’t be the first professional team to make the city their home though.  In October 2017, the Vegas Golden Knights will “puck off” in the National Hockey League having been awarded one of the expansion slots back in 2016.

So what has this all got to do with digital media?  Well, unsurprisingly, the marketing machine is already in full effect.  The Raiders need a home, which is why they will continue to play as and in Oakland for three more seasons.  The new state of the art stadium will be built in between the airport and the Las Vegas Strip ready for the 2020 season, but you can already place a deposit on a seat for just $100.  Unfortunately, the marketing men (and women) decided not to use a dotVegas domain name, opting for a sub-domain of the existing raiders.com URL.

But it does seem some people had an inkling this may happen.  The domain name www.raiders.vegas was registered back in January 2016, with the owner hidden by proxy whilst the domain name www.lasvegasraiders.com was actually registered back in December 1998 by a Mark Davis from Alamo, California.  Surely the current owner of the Raiders will be fuming that someone had the foresight to register the name?  Not at all because it appears that Mark Davis the domain name registrant is the same Mark Davis, owner of the Oakland Raiders. Whilst the Davis family have had major involvement in the Raiders since Mark’s father, Al, became the general manager at the age of 33 in 1963.

However, to have such foresight is quite remarkable in term of a speculative registration of the domain name and perhaps explains in some ways that Davis today has a net worth of around $500m.  Others have tried to jump on the domain name bandwagon, with Verisign showing a peak of 168 registrations featuring the keyword “Raiders” on the day of the announcement, up from the daily average of 3 dotCom domain names.

Whilst Davis may have had an inkling that one day he would see his side play in Vegas, domain name speculation rarely pays off.  In some instances it can actually get the registrant into hot water as we have seen for registrations around the potential host city for the 2028 Summer Olympics.  In 2015 the International Olympic Committee flexed their digital asset protection muscle by filing a complaint against an organisation called CityPure who had registered scores of domain names that could potentially match Olympic bid or host cities, not only on the 2024 games but future ones such as Rome2028.org.  They also registered Toyko2020.org which was seen as a clear infringement of the IOC’s intellectual property.  So be warned before you dive in with a registration that you think will make you a millionaire!

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