In the world of professional and amateur sports, success on the field often goes hand-in-hand with a business and legal savvy back office.
Our clients are professional and amateur teams and athletes, university athletic departments, owners, investors, coaches, equipment manufacturers, and other sports-related entities. They are Olympic gold medalists, Hall of Famers, and World Series and Super Bowl champions. They retain us for counsel in these areas:
- Venue financing, development, and operation
- Licensing, merchandising, and other intellectual property issues
- Labor and employment contracts
- Athlete matters and endorsements
- Acquisitions of ownership interests in teams
- Naming rights and sponsorships
- Litigation, dispute resolution, and preventive counseling
We handle the financing and refinancing of sports facilities and other large event venues, navigating the complex issues related to municipal finance, including local laws and federal tax and securities regulations. Our attorneys have a track record of success working with developers, government officials, and others on large sports arenas and entertainment complexes.
Facility/Venue Development and Operation
Our attorneys work with team and stadium owners on site selection, acquisition of land, and the development of sports and entertainment facilities, including the construction of sports facilities and plans for surrounding mixed-use development. We also help clients negotiate the terms of design and construction contracts.
Intellectual Property/Naming Rights and Sponsorships
We help protect the lucrative intellectual property related to team operations. Our team advises on licensing and merchandising, naming rights, and special events and promotions. We handle media and technology matters, including copyright and right-of-publicity issues in the use of film and images; negotiate agreements with broadcast affiliates; and counsel clients on entertainment law issues.
We advise on the acquisition and disposition of sports teams, franchises, and properties, as well as on joint ventures and the establishment of new sports entities. Our attorneys have managed sales and acquisition projects for clients ranging from major and minor league teams to individuals seeking to acquire professional sports teams and facilities.
We represent professional athletes and coaches in issues involving contract negotiation, team and individual endorsements, tax and estate planning, public appearances, and the establishment of nonprofit foundations. We advise amateur athletes and university athletic departments on issues of eligibility and compliance with the NCAA and other governing bodies.
Labor and Employment
Our attorneys counsel sports teams on salary caps, collective bargaining agreements, and other labor issues. We handle teams’ employee benefits and executive compensation work, including executive employment agreements, tax issues associated with such agreements, and issues involving retirement and health and welfare plans. We also assist with the benefits aspects of sports-related M&A transactions.
Litigation, Dispute Resolution, and Preventive Counseling
The firm’s litigators are powerful trial advocates. Just as important, they are skilled negotiators, fully recognizing the value of achieving a client win outside the courtroom, and excel at preventive counseling. Our experience includes representing professional sports teams in lawsuits with season ticket holders as well as litigation involving demonstrations and protests at sports facilities. We also help sports teams develop policies governing free speech activities at and around stadiums and arenas. In addition, we have represented a professional sports league in a dispute concerning the relocation of a franchise.
Our tax attorneys offer sophisticated tax planning and structuring for investors, sports teams, athletes, and stadium owners, and also handle disputes at all levels of government.