Sandra Douglass Morgan delivers keynote address at INTIX 2024
LAS VEGAS, Nevada — With plenty on her plate with the Las Vegas Raiders’ stadium playing host to the Super Bowl and optimism looking toward next season on the field with a new head coach and general manager, still what most people want to hear from team president Sandra Douglass Morgan is about herself.
“It’s so easy. I am sleeping wonderfully every night,” she jokes, when asked about the upcoming contest between the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers at Allegiant Stadium. They square up against each other on Feb. 11 for Super Bowl LVIII.
Douglass Morgan brought some star power as a keynote speaker at the annual INTIX conference, which took place at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas Jan. 29 to Feb. 1.
As the first Black female president of an NFL team — and one of only two other women to hold the position — she notes the importance of her role, but says it’s about more than her.
“Being the first is not success. In my mind, success is making sure you’re not the last,” she said. “When you are one of a handful of people in an industry, there’s additional pressure to make sure that you’re not letting your community and others down, but you also want to make sure you are opening that path or that trail so that others can follow.”
She credited the vision of Raiders owner Mark Davis and his father Al Davis, the first team owner to hire a Black head coach and female team president. Decades ago, Al Davis refused to play in cities where hotels were segregated by race.
“He was an innovator, a disruptor and a visionary, and he recognized that innovation is not just a destination, but an ongoing journey,” said Douglass Morgan, a lawyer whose extensive resume includes roles at the Nevada Gaming Commission, Nevada Gaming Control Board, AT&T Services and The Mirage.
For Douglass Morgan, who joined the Raiders in the summer of 2022, diversity, equity and inclusion includes the team’s business and football operations staff and leaders, and extends to consumers. She describes a fan-first approach to all Raiders operations, with extensive efforts toward community engagement and expanding the team’s fan base globally. She notes the Raiders have always been strong as a multi-city brand, but their culture is still new to Las Vegas after playing in California from 1960 to 2019.
“Our mission at the Raiders is enriched by our past and inspired by our future, a commitment to excellence in everything that we do. It means not just meeting our goals on the field, but the organizational, communal and relational aspects of what we do off the field,” said Douglass Morgan, who has lived in Las Vegas since the age of 2 and was raised in a blue-collar family. Her mother worked the swing shift as a keno runner at one of the casinos.
“Whether it’s a Raiders game, concert or event, we strive to provide an unmatched experience for every ticket holder and guest, constantly adapting and improving,” she said. “Our success at Allegiant Stadium is a testament to the collaboration, innovation, and pushing through boundaries of what’s possible.“
Douglass Morgan said one example was the cultural gap in the team’s social media presence. The Raiders now have separate websites and social media channels in Spanish.
“We’re not perfect, we’re always improving,” she said. “We have a huge Latino fan base and I said we need a social media director who can speak Spanish. We’re really focusing on our Raiders Mexico efforts. Those are important fans that we need to cultivate and grow.”
At the brick-and-mortar level, she said the Raiders are aligned with Allegiant Stadium, which was built with sustainability in mind. It’s one of seven stadiums to achieve LEED gold certification and recently became 100% powered by renewable energy.
“Every aspect of that stadium was designed by Mark Davis with the fan in mind,” Douglass Morgan said.
“Speaking of unforgettable experiences,” she said, “who here had a chance to attend Beyonce’s ‘Renaissance’ tour?,” joking that she would mention Taylor Swift but “we’ve all seen her nonstop for the last 17 weeks. But I must say that watching both of those incredible women perform at Allegiant Stadium with my children singing their hearts out was one of the most exhilarating experiences that I’ve ever had, other than seeing the Raiders put up 63 points against the Chargers.”
For the Super Bowl, Douglass Morgan said she’ll sleep more easily after it’s come and gone, as vice chair of the Super Bowl Host Committee, which she joined in 2021 before joining the Raiders. She says she’s confident the event will be an amazing experience thanks to all the diligent planning and hard work behind the scenes. She also notes the gravity of the situation, growing up going to UNLV Running Rebels games when professional sports weren’t even considered possible in the city.
“When I was growing up .. there was kind of a stigma with gaming,” she said. “So, me as a daughter of a keno runner, as someone who used to actually work as in-house counsel at a gaming company, it’s kind of like, ‘Hey guys, we told you so. We told you we could do this.”