Sports Law


THE INDUSTRY, OUR TEAM

The sports industry is continually growing and evolving as a result of advancements in media, technology, and the global marketplace, prompting our attorneys to assist our clients in tackling a diverse range of matters and transactions within the industry—both personal and corporate—from the routine to the complex. With more than 25 years of experience providing strategic counsel to a broad range of individuals, organizations, and stakeholders in the sports industry, Blank Rome’s sports practice works across geographies to deliver tailored, business-minded solutions to our clients’ legal issues.

Working regularly with professional franchises and associations, professional and collegiate athletes, colleges, clubs, governing bodies, media companies, and apparel and equipment manufacturers, Blank Rome’s attorneys are not only well-networked within the industry, but they are also well-versed in the dynamic litigation, transactional, and regulatory issues impacting a broad range of clients.

PLAYERS, COACHES, AGENTS, AND EXECUTIVES

Blank Rome is well-equipped to represent clients who are truly in the game. Owners, players, coaches, agents, and executives turn to our sports practice team for advice on a broad range of issues that impact their professional careers and personal lives.

Our work includes:

  • Counseling individuals to ensure that they effectively leverage their value by serving as trusted advisers as they negotiate and secure contracts, endorsement deals, appearance fees, and other engagements.
  • Ensuring that individuals maximize their long-term financial security by providing advice relating to tax planning/litigation, estate planning and administration, real estate, and a broad range of family law matters including but not limited to, prenuptial and post-nuptial agreements, divorce, paternity, custody and post-judgment enforcement and modification issues.
  • Working with individuals to handle unforeseen circumstances, providing employment counseling, contract termination, and bankruptcy and restructuring advice.

TEAMS, OWNERS, LEAGUES, UNIVERSITIES, CLUBS, AND GOVERNING BODIES

Blank Rome lawyers have represented several professional teams in the NHL, NFL, NBA, and MLB, as well as college and university teams from coast to coast. In addition, we represent wrestling organizations and the NCAA in significant national head injury litigation matters. Our attorneys also have an understanding of the unique trends and issues facing stakeholders in new, emerging sports and markets. We regularly guide these organizations as they build and expand their fan bases.

We work seamlessly across disciplines to provide legal solutions to the unique business issues facing the owners, managers, governing bodies, and stakeholders of professional and college teams.

Our work includes: 

  • Defending teams against sports injury litigation, including concussion-related litigation, insurance-related issues, and risk mitigation and management.
  • Working with teams to maximize and protect licensing-related revenue, including licensing agreements, trademark counseling and protection, equipment and apparel branding, and media rights.
  • Working with teams and stakeholders to grow and sustain their business by providing advice on commercial lending, and drafting and negotiating commercial contracts.
  • Providing efficient counsel for routine and complex business issues, including acquisitions, the negotiation and administration of contracts, labor and employment issues, and premises-related litigation.

STADIUMS, ARENAS, AND OTHER SPORTING VENUES

Blank Rome’s sports practice attorneys have also provided strategic advice in the development of a broad range of arenas and facilities, including work on race tracks, stadiums, and gaming and entertainment venues. Developing and managing sports venues requires a specific, critical understanding of the interplay between public and private sectors—and our attorneys are prepared to leverage their experience and industry knowledge to ensure that owners and stakeholders are not only protected, but also positioned to succeed.

Our work includes:

  • Helping teams secure success in their local markets by providing business-focused advice on stadium development and management, ground leases, land use/zoning, project finance, borrower and creditor rights, public-private partnerships (“PPP”), government relations, tax incentives, and arena naming rights.
  • Guiding our clients in the design, planning, and construction of stadiums, arenas, and sports venues. A “one-stop-shop,” our capabilities include zoning, planning, bonding, financing, construction, real estate, and concessions.

MEDIA, TECHNOLOGY, TELECOMMUNICATIONS, AND OTHER STAKEHOLDERS

As the sports industry continues to grow and advance via new media platforms and technologies, Blank Rome’s attorneys can help those in the sports industry form meaningful and engaging connections with the fans that drive their business. From broadcasting to streaming, applications, online gambling, and betting, our deep, diverse bench of sports and technology attorneys across the United States regularly advise networks, telecom, and technology companies on regulatory, litigation, and transactional matters associated with established and new media.

Our work includes:

  • Helping teams and networks ensure that they seamlessly reach their desired audiences by drafting and negotiating a variety of media, broadcasting, and syndication agreements.
  • Guiding our sports and sports wagering industry clients in social gaming, e-sports, online gaming, racing and wagering, and other sports delivery mediums.
  • Providing tailored advice to ensure that stakeholders can effectively reach and engage their fans with promotions, advertising, social media, and sweepstakes.
  • Working with our sports industry clients to leverage new growth opportunities via joint ventures, partnerships, acquisitions, and dispositions.
  • Ensuring that our sports industry clients remain compliant with the rapidly evolving regulatory landscape, providing forward-thinking advice on a broad range of labor, telecom, and corporate issues.

SPORTS APPAREL & EQUIPMENT MANUFACTURERS, SELLERS, AND SUPPLIERS

Sports apparel and equipment manufacturers, sellers, and suppliers are unique contributors to the industry; their business requires tailored advice to leverage opportunity—and manage risk. Because our sports practice team regularly represents owners, players, and other stakeholders, we have a deep understanding of these risks and opportunities and are in tune with emerging trends and regulatory issues. We are also well-networked and well-positioned to help emerging apparel and equipment manufacturers bring their products to market, and to address intellectual property matters, licensing, and distribution.

Our work includes:

  • Helping apparel and equipment manufacturers, sellers, and suppliers bring their goods to market by providing advice on licensing, manufacturing, supply, and distribution agreements.
  • Ensuring that sports apparel and equipment is in compliance with and protected by the appropriate trademarks, copyrights, and patents.
  • Proactively advising sports apparel and equipment manufacturers, sellers, and suppliers to avoid product design and product liability issues—and working closely with them to defend any claims that arise.