Sports Law

Overview

“Everyone there was professional, personable and knowledgeable. I have no hesitation recommending them.”

— Client feedback, Chambers USA

The sports industry continues to grow at a rapid pace, and by 2019, it is expected to reach more than $73 billion in North America alone. Advancements in media, technology, and the global marketplace have led to a sports industry that is evolving at a breakneck pace which have been accompanied by an increase in the complexity and importance of legal issues facing the industry.

The continued expansion of the industry has found our sports industry attorneys helping clients tackle a diverse range of legal matters and transactions—both personal and corporate—from the routine to the complex. With more than 25 years experience providing strategic counsel to a broad range of individuals, organizations, and stakeholders in the sports industry, Blank Rome’s sports law attorneys work across geographies and practice areas to deliver tailored, business-minded solutions.

Engaging regularly with professional franchises and associations; professional and collegiate athletes; colleges; clubs; governing bodies; media companies; apparel and equipment manufacturers; and racing, e-sports, and fantasy sport operators, we are not only well-connected within the industry, but also well versed in the dynamic litigation, transactions, and regulatory issues impacting a broad range of clients.

How We Can Help

Players, Coaches, Agents, and Executives

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.

  • 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

We advise professional teams in the NHL, NFL, NBA, and MLB, as well as college and university teams throughout the United States.

  • 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.
  • Working with stakeholders in new, emerging sports and markets and guide these organizations as they build and expand their fan bases.

Stadiums, Arenas, and Other Sporting Venues

Developing and managing sports venues requires a specific, critical understanding of the interplay between public and private sectors—and we leverage our experience and industry knowledge to ensure that owners and stakeholders are not only protected, but also positioned to succeed.

  • Providing strategic advice in the development of a broad range of arenas and facilities, including work on racetracks, stadiums, and gaming and entertainment venues.
  • 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

From broadcasting to streaming; applications; online gambling; and e-sports, fantasy sports, and sports 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.

  • 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 comply with the rapidly evolving regulatory landscape, providing forward-thinking advice on a broad range of labor, telecom, and corporate issues.

Sports Apparel and Equipment Manufacturers, Sellers, and Suppliers

Sports apparel and equipment manufacturers, sellers, and suppliers are unique contributors to the industry that require tailored advice to leverage opportunity and manage risk.

  • 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.

Team

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