Champions of Sports Law
Blank Rome’s Sports Industry Group excels at the business of sports. We provide strategic counsel to professional athletes, influencers, video gamers, agents, college prodigies, and retired players, as well as coaches, leagues, teams, executives, owners, and vendors.
For more than two decades, our Sports Industry Group has delivered tailored, business-minded solutions to clients, financial advisers, agents, and on and off the field/court/ice. Like our clients, we play to win, and we are proud to be the “home advantage” for all sports-related legal needs.
The sports industry is burgeoning with exciting opportunities as advances are made in media, technology, the global marketplace, betting, and in political and social climates. These innovations require our attorneys to be on top of their game and ready to play under any condition. Blank Rome’s Sports Industry Group provides cutting-edge, strategic counsel across all areas of sports law, including matrimonial and family law, foundations, estate planning, reputation protection and branding, endorsements, NIL (name, image, and likeness), intellectual property, sports betting, extortion, civil damage exposure, insurance recovery, white collar defense, investigations, litigation, corporate, labor and employment, construction, tax, and lending. We are the winning team for legal and business solutions.
How We Can Help
Players, Coaches, Agents, and C-Suite Executives
Blank Rome represents the top, most notable, and high-net-worth clients in the industry, as well as up-and-coming athletes and their coaches, agents, and C-suite executives. Athletes and their advisers can only excel when they are singularly focused on their sport and not distracted by their professional career and personal life. Our team ensures these individuals stay focused preparing for the big win and are not sidelined with stress and worry about their families, finances, or the effect an extortion case could have on their brand or career. Our work includes but is not limited to:
- Negotiating and securing contracts, endorsement deals, appropriate NIL deals, appearance fees, and other engagements.
- Having the right attorney draft the original contract with your interests in mind is critical so that all issues are considered, including, but not limited to, who is going to pay the attorney’s fees and costs if there is an unexpected but blatant breach of the agreement and what the venue for that dispute will be.
- Our goal is to keep you in the game and take one for the team through mediation and/or all stages of litigation when necessary.
- Advising through difficult and unexpected allegations of sexual assault, intentional infliction of emotional harm and/or incurable illnesses, and domestic violence, as well as extortion.
- Maximizing long-term financial security by providing advice as to tax planning/litigation, estate planning, corporate and administration, real estate, construction, and security.
- This includes a broad range of domestic/family matters, including, but not limited to, prenuptial and postnuptial agreements, divorce, paternity, child support, custody, post-judgment enforcement, and modification issues.
- Counseling in their investment opportunities in areas of e-sports and sports betting.
- Handling employment counseling, white collar defense, contract termination, insurance recovery for lost income along with general insurance matters affecting real estate and businesses, and bankruptcy and restructuring matters.
- Selection, registration, and enforcement of brands, including, but not limited to, registration of trademarks, and setting up new business entities.
- Reputation management, including, but not limited to, removal of videos, photos, and defamatory and private information from the internet.
- Assisting in the implementation of diversifying financial portfolio strategies through investments in real estate revenue-generating properties, along with the purchase of personal residences.
Teams, Owners, Leagues, Universities, Clubs, and Governing Bodies
Blank Rome’s Sports Industry Group attorneys represent professional teams in the NFL, NHL, NBA, and MLB, as well as college and university teams from coast to coast. Additionally, we represent wrestling organizations and the NCAA in significant national head injury litigation matters.
Given our vast and national client base, our attorneys have a unique understanding of the many trends and issues facing teams and owners in traditional and new emerging sports and markets. We regularly serve as a utility player for these organizations as they build and expand their fan base and comply with ever-changing local and state laws, so no one has to be a Monday morning quarterback. Our work includes:
- Defending alleged sports-related injury litigation, including, but not limited to, concussions, insurance recovery, and risk mitigation and management.
- Maximizing and protecting revenue, including licensing agreements, trademark counseling and protection, equipment and apparel branding, and media rights.
- Advising on the growth of businesses, including on commercial lending, as well as drafting and negotiating commercial contracts.
- Counseling on routine and complex business issues, including acquisitions, negotiation and administration of contracts, labor and employment issues, and premises-related litigation.
- Counseling on sponsorships, sports betting agreements, market access deals, and reviewing sports betting legislation to maximize participation and revenues.
- Acting as outside general counsel, including advising on governance, strategic planning, and communications; due diligence; crisis management; internal and government investigations; contract review; engagement agreements; and ongoing legal compliance.
- Counseling leagues and teams in connection with policy and procedures and their enforcement.
- Protecting clients by analyzing insurance programs and risk profiles, drafting insurance and indemnity provisions in deal documents, and advising on and negotiating the terms of representations and warranty insurance and tax insurance policies. We also pursue insurance recovery claims for losses stemming from business interruptions, breach of contract disputes, negligence, and liability issues.
Media, Technology, Wagering, and Telecommunications
As the sports industry continues to grow via new media platforms and technologies, Blank Rome can help key players in the sector form meaningful and engaging connections with the fans that drive their business. The landscape changes that arose from the decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in Murphy v. NCAA, et. al. generated an exciting new area of sports wagering, marketing, and technology for sports businesses.
From broadcasting to streaming, online gambling, and sports betting, our deep, diverse bench of gaming, sports, and technology attorneys across the country regularly advise network, telecom, teams, leagues, sports wagering operators, and online gaming and technology companies for the win on regulatory, privacy, litigation, and transactional matters. Our work includes:
- Ensuring clients seamlessly reach their fan base and other target audiences by drafting and negotiating a variety of media, broadcasting, and syndication agreements.
- Licensing and launching retail and online sports wagering platforms in the United States outside of Nevada.
- Guiding clients in social gaming, e-sports, online gaming, horse racing and wagering, and other sports delivery mediums.
- Providing tailored advice to ensure that stakeholders can effectively and legally engage their fans with promotions, advertising, social media, and sweepstakes.
- Working with clients to leverage new growth opportunities via joint ventures, partnerships, acquisitions, and dispositions.
- Ensuring clients remain compliant with the rapidly evolving regulatory landscape, providing forward-thinking advice on a wide range of compliance, gaming, labor, telecom, and corporate issues.
Stadiums, Arenas, and Other Sporting Venues
Blank Rome’s sports bench also provides strategic advice on the development of a broad range of arenas and sporting venues. Remember, if you build it, they will come. Developing and managing sports facilities requires a specific, critical understanding of the interplay between the public and private sectors—and our attorneys leverage their experience and industry knowledge to go the distance and ensure that clients never have to call a Hail Mary. We ensure our clients are not only protected but are positioned to succeed. Our work includes:
- Providing strategic advice in the development of a broad range of arenas and facilities, including work on racetracks, football/hockey/baseball/soccer/basketball stadiums, and gaming and entertainment venues.
- Helping teams build 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 clients during 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.
- Aiding clients pursuing insurance recovery claims for losses stemming from business interruptions, breach of contract disputes, negligence, and other tort claims.
Sports Apparel & Equipment Manufacturers, Sellers, and Suppliers
Unsung heroes of the game, sports apparel and equipment manufacturers, sellers, and suppliers are all important contributors to the industry. Their businesses require tailored advice to leverage opportunity, as well as manage risk. Because our Sports industry group regularly represents owners, athletes, coaches, 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 to address our clients’ intellectual property matters. 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 complies with and is protected by the appropriate trademarks, copyrights, and patents.
- Proactively advising companies on avoiding product design and product liability issues—working closely with them to defend any claims that arise and pursue insurance recovery options for any business interruption losses.
- Helping apparel and equipment manufacturers, sellers, and suppliers acquire storage and distribution facilities through purchases and/or lease.