Sports

The sports industry presents business and legal issues common to other commercial enterprises, but also poses challenges unique and specific to the world of sports.

Our attorneys have substantial experience with the full array of issues of concern to sports interests. We have developed that experience as counsel to the major professional sports leagues, individual teams and their owners, arena and stadium operators, producers and promoters of sports events, media interests, sponsors and advertisers, companies providing security and other services to sports venues, and the organizers of major international events such as the Olympic Games.

We understand the complex business of sports and have provided effective representation in this sector for many years on a broad range of matters involving antitrust, copyright, trademark, bankruptcy, labor, tax, communications, consumer protection, environmental, licensing and advertising, litigation and arbitration, real estate, right of publicity laws, and constitutional questions. We have routinely dealt with these matters in litigations, investigations, transactions, contractual negotiations and disputes and in proceedings before Congress and various federal, state and international agencies—including the Federal Communications Commission, Copyright Office, Copyright Royalty Board, Patent and Trademark Office, World Intellectual Property Organization, Federal Trade Commission, Antitrust Division, Department of Labor, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, state Department of Fair Employment and Housing, and state attorneys general.

Among the matters where we have successfully represented sports interests are those relating to ticketing policies; franchise acquisition and relocation; claims involving players, fans and TV rightsholders; use of player images and team logos; unauthorized domestic and international distribution of sports telecasts via the Internet; valuation and monetization (and international protection) of such telecasts over new and traditional media; stadium construction; financing transactions; bankruptcy; domain name disputes and cancellation of allegedly disparaging trademarks; gambling; franchise sanctions/termination; labor, employment and collective bargaining disputes; and the drafting and negotiation of TV contracts.

Our sports law attorneys have been recognized as leaders in the field by Chambers, The Legal 500, Who's Who Legal, National Law Journal, and Sports Business Journal.

The Legal 500 US: Leading Firm

Experience Highlights

  • Golden State Warriors in obtaining dismissal of antitrust lawsuit challenging the defendants' exclusive partnership for ticket resales. StubHub, Inc. v. Golden State Warriors, LLC and Ticketmaster LLC
  • National Hockey League (NHL) regarding matters relating to the 2017 All-Star game which took place in Los Angeles in January 2017.
  • Minnesota Timberwolves in a litigation matter involving an antitrust and consumer protection challenge to the team's approach to ticketing. GLS Companies and James Mattson v. Minnesota Timberwolves Basketball LP
  • Joint Sports Claimants (JSC), a major sports leagues consortium, in litigation and proceedings involving more than a billion dollars in copyright royalty disputes.
  • Oakland Raiders in securing unanimous jury verdict for the Raiders in age discrimination and breach of contract case. Bruce Kebric, et al. v. Oakland Raiders
  • Freedom Soccer, a women's professional soccer franchise, in preventing termination of the franchise by the Women's Professional Soccer League. Freedom Soccer v. Women's Professional Soccer League
  • Oakland Raiders in obtaining $34 million jury verdict in fraud and breach of contract suit against the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Inc., jointly owned by the County of Alameda and City of Oakland, relating to the terms of moving the team from Los Angeles. City of Oakland and the County of Alameda v. The Oakland Raiders
  • Major League Baseball in defeating class certification and obtaining summary judgment against a group of former baseball players who asserted that MLB lacked the right to use their names and images in classic film of famous historic baseball games and in All-Star and World Series game programs. Gionfreddo v. Major League Baseball Properties
  • Lerner family in handling tax planning for the acquisition of Aston Villa, a publicly traded UK football (soccer) team.
  • Major League Baseball in obtaining favorable jury verdict against class of former baseball players relating to MLB's use of player names and images in baseball game footage, jewel event programs and other uses. Coscarart v. Major League Baseball
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