Las Vegas Raiders president Sandra Douglass Morgan continues to pioneer at the Super Bowl — Andscape
LAS VEGAS – Already well-versed in being a pioneer, Las Vegas Raiders president Sandra Douglass Morgan is well-suited for her latest groundbreaking role: vice chair of the Las Vegas Super Bowl host committee.
The first Black female franchise president in NFL history, Morgan, who’s also of Korean descent, is also the first Black woman to hold such a high-ranking position with a host committee. In a nutshell, host committees work with the league to ensure that each host city delivers a great experience for fans during Super Bowl week and on game day. Deeply connected to Nevada’s top leaders in both politics and big business, Morgan, who was reared in Las Vegas, seems like a natural to help guide the group.
With Morgan being the ultimate Nevada insider, it’s fitting that she’s out front yet again as the state is set to host its first Super Bowl. Morgan not having a seat at the table would have been a shocker.
One of Morgan’s high-profile jobs will end Sunday after Super Bowl LVIII between the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers at Allegiant Stadium. To hear Maury Gallagher, the committee’s chair, tell it, Morgan has performed admirably, which is what he expected.
“She’s an exceptional person,” Gallagher told Andscape in a phone interview recently. “The background she has had in this state, where she’s had exposure to business, where she’s had exposure to political environments, makes her” the right person both to handle her responsibilities for the committee and the Raiders.
A committee member since 2021, her participation on it predates her joining the Raiders (Morgan was announced as the club’s new president in July 2022). Familiar with juggling multiple major tasks throughout her highly successful career in law, government and business, Morgan, even by her standards, has been especially busy with her duties as a committee executive and the leader of the Raiders’ business operation.
For the committee, Morgan, 45, is involved with myriad issues including sponsorship discussions, the location of events during Super Bowl week, security at Allegiant Stadium, the Raiders’ home field, and traffic concerns. All the while, Morgan and others on the committee confer with the league office on, well, anything related to the NFL’s signature event.
Then there’s everything expected of Morgan on her day job.
Her portfolio includes ticket sales, luxury suites sales, advertising partnerships and the game-day experience for fans during Raiders games. Morgan, team owner Mark Davis’ top lieutenant, has had a hand in any major happening that occurs at Allegiant Stadium for the Raiders.
Not surprisingly, Morgan’s workdays have been extended for a minute now. But, she said, wearing both hats has been invigorating.
In her role on the host committee, “I’m more a cheerleader and supporter for the region. With the Raiders, there’s definitely a different lens,” Morgan told Andscape during an interview at the Raiders’ team headquarters in Henderson, Nevada.
“Not only is the game in my home of Las Vegas, it’s in our home stadium. … There’s definitely a lot of work that goes into it, but it’s all very exciting. It’s almost like you’re doing all this preparation to invite someone into your home.”
Morgan, whose family moved to Las Vegas when she was a toddler, attended high school in Las Vegas, completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Nevada, Reno, and received her law degree from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Allegiant Stadium – the Raiders’ $1.9 billion home venue and the world’s second-most expensive stadium – is in Paradise, Nevada, next to Las Vegas.
Morgan was the first African American to serve as chair of the Nevada Gaming Control Board (2019 to 2021), which oversees every facet of Nevada’s expansive gaming industry, including gaming licenses, audits, investigations and enforcement. When Morgan became the city attorney for North Las Vegas, she also became Nevada’s first African American city attorney.
The trailblazer also held several top positions within the private sector in Las Vegas. Morgan serves on the board of directors of Allegiant Travel Co., of which Gallagher is the CEO. In 2019, the company secured the naming rights to the Raiders’ home stadium.
The glass ceiling Morgan shattered in the NFL, however, ranks as her highest.
The league was founded in 1920. It only took about 102 years for a Black woman to occupy a team president’s office.
Although she embraces the role of kicking open doors, Morgan is clear-eyed about the importance of her being a leader for the entire Raiders organization.
“With this role there is a responsibility, and I’ve always taken that responsibility very seriously throughout my career,” Morgan said. “I want people to understand that people of color and women of color are capable of, obviously, running teams. And I’m happy to have the support of Mark in that.
“But with this [role] it’s a little bit different because it’s about the team. I want to do a good job as president of the Raiders. That’s my goal, first and foremost. I’ve always said if I can inspire others, I just never want to be a … I want to support the team. That is my role here, to make sure we are the most successful team in the NFL.”
Beginning with Davis’ late father, maverick Raiders owner Al Davis, the franchise has been an industry standard-bearer in inclusive hiring.
In 1989, Al Davis promoted Art Shell from offensive line coach to head coach, making Shell the league’s first Black head coach of the league’s modern era. Onetime club CEO Amy Trask was the first woman to occupy that post in the NFL, and Tom Flores, who led the franchise to two Super Bowl championships, was the league’s first Hispanic head coach to win a Super Bowl. Besides hiring Morgan and a Black general manager, Mark Davis removed the interim tag from Las Vegas head coach Antonio Pierce, who is Black, on Jan. 19.
And now, the highest-ranking Black woman at the club level in NFL history is representing the Raiders on two levels the first time they’ve hosted the Super Bowl. Fortunately for Morgan, she’s used to going through new doors first.