Our Services

Sports and Entertainment Group

Representations of teams, owners, players and sponsors in each of Major League Baseball, the NBA, the NFL, the NHL and Major League Soccer.  The sale and purchase of, and investments in, professional sports teams such as the Anaheim Ducks, Arizona Diamondbacks, Denver Broncos, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Los Angeles Kings, Los Angeles Lakers, New England Patriots, New Jersey Devils, New York Yankees, Phoenix Coyotes, Phoenix Suns, St. Louis Blues and St. Louis Rams and major entertainment companies like Sony Pictures, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and The Walt Disney Company.  More naming rights transactions than any firm in the U.S., including the largest known naming rights deal on each side of the Atlantic for Citi Field and The O2 and the naming of the Dolby Theatre, home of the Academy Awards.  Sponsorships of the 2005 Super Bowl Halftime Show, NFL Pro Bowl and MLB All Star balloting and USA Basketball’s marketing and licensing deal with the NBA covering the 2008 and 2012 Men’s and Women’s Olympic Basketball Teams.  Endorsement, “influencer” and “celebrity meets internet” deals involving celebrities such as Brazilian soccer player Ronaldinho, Jimmy Connors, Kurt Warner, Brendan Shanahan, Sandra Bullock, Jessica Simpson, Sarah Jessica Parker, Lady Gaga, Bridget Moynahan and Selena Gomez, employee benefits work for Michael Vick and trademark work for Troy Polamalu.  United States Anti-Doping Agency’s cases against Tour de France winner Floyd Landis, Marion Jones and other gold medal winners.  The BALCO scandal and the Mitchell Report on steroid use in baseball.  Major resort, stadium and event venue development, financing and leasing projects, including for Beaver Creek Resort, a Jack Nicklaus golf resort, STAPLES Center, The O2 and The Colosseum at Caesars Palace.  TV contracts with FOX Sports, NBC, CBS, ABC and ESPN and player contracts for Wayne Gretzky and David Beckham.  These are just some of the matters that members of our Sports and Entertainment Group have handled – and some of the experiences that we can draw upon – in representing our valued clients. 

The world of sports and entertainment has become a world of big business.  This is true both for sports and entertainment businesses whose ability to compete on the field or the stage is dependent on their ability to generate revenues and compete in the business world and for businesses in other industries increasingly looking to sponsorship opportunities as a means to advertise their products and services.  As the complexity – and the stakes – of the business of sports and entertainment continue to grow, we believe that so too does the need for sophisticated counsel with a deep understanding of the issues that matter to you, the experience necessary to effectively and efficiently help you achieve your goals and a track record of delivering results for our clients on the matters that mean the most to them. 

We are recognized nationally and internationally as a leader in sports and entertainment law.  Following our combination with Holme Roberts & Owen, we now offer our clients a Sports Practice which was recently nationally ranked by Chambers USA - America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, a directory of the country’s most widely recommended law firms and lawyers with rankings based entirely on client input. Chambers commented that the Sports Practice “offers the best possible client service.”  We offer our clients the unique experience and relationships of our over 60 Sports and Entertainment Group members across the United States, in London and in Shanghai practicing in a variety of transactional, litigation and regulatory practice groups.  As a part of one of the largest 25 law firms in the world with over 1,100 lawyers and professionals, we can provide our clients the full service capabilities that they require.

Representative Clients

Members of the Sports and Entertainment Group currently represent or have represented each of the following representative clients:

Professional Sports Franchises and
Their Owners
Anaheim Ducks (NHL)
Arizona Diamondbacks (MLB)
DC United (MLS)
Denver Broncos (NFL)
Golden State Warriors (NBA)
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (MLB)
Los Angeles Galaxy (MLS)
Los Angeles Kings (NHL)
Los Angeles Lakers (NBA)
New England Patriots (NFL)
New Jersey Devils (NHL)
Phoenix Coyotes (NHL)
Phoenix Suns (NBA)
San Francisco 49ers (NFL)
Seattle Seahawks (NFL)
St. Louis Blues (NHL)

Professional Athletes
Jimmy Connors
Jackie Joyner Kersee
Orlando Pace
Troy Polamalu
Brendan Shanahan
Michael Vick
Kurt Warner

Collegiate Clients
Mountain West Conference
University of Tennessee

Olympics Organizations
United States Olympic Committee (USOC)
USA Basketball
USA Hockey
USA Swimming

Anti-Doping Movement Clients
U.S. Anti-Doping Agency
World Anti-Doping Agency

Corporate Sponsors
Bank of America
Dolby Laboratories
TD Ameritrade

Professional Sports and Entertainment Organizations
Anschutz Entertainment Group
ATP Tour
SMG Property Management, Inc.
Triple A Baseball

Entertainment Companies
Sony Pictures and its subsidiaries, Columbia
Pictures and Tri-Star Pictures
The Walt Disney Company
Various other motion picture, television and
other media studios, producers, directors,
distributors and broadcasters

Our Practice

The Sports and Entertainment Group offers the depth of experience needed to effectively and efficiently represent our clients in the wide range of matters that fall within the sports and entertainment realm.  We have developed teams of lawyers committed to assisting clients in each of the following areas:
  • Our Naming Rights and Sponsorship Practice.  We are a leader in representing sports and entertainment properties and sponsors in naming rights and sponsorship transactions.  We have been directly involved with more naming rights transactions than any other U.S. law firm, with total revenues from these deals exceeding $1.5 billion, and have negotiated significant sponsorships of Olympic events, professional sports teams and events, including more than $600 million in sponsorship and marketing agreements during 2010 and 2011. 
  • Our Event Venue Practice.  We have extensive experience with the development, financing, leasing and operation of stadiums, arenas and other event venues.  We have the expertise to handle all aspects of these projects, having served as lead counsel in connection with a number of high profile event venue projects across the United States and abroad.
  • Our Sports & Entertainment M&A Practice.  Bryan Cave is ranked among the top 10 legal advisors for M&A work involving a U.S. target, and we have significant M&A experience in the sports and entertainment industry.  Representative transactions include advising clients in connection with acquisitions and sales of, and investments in, professional sports franchises in each of Major League Baseball, Major League Soccer, the NBA, the NFL and the NHL as well as arenas and entertainment businesses.
  • Our Sports & Entertainment Litigation Practice.  Our litigation team regularly handles jury trials, bench trials, arbitrations, mediations and administrative and regulatory proceedings for all manner of complex business disputes. We have successfully represented clients in virtually all areas of litigation and in nearly every state and federal court in the U.S., as well as all of the leading international arbitral institutions. We also counsel clients on how to avoid litigation and resolve business disputes without litigation.  Among our over 400 business litigators across the Firm, our litigation team includes full-time, dedicated sports and entertainment industry litigators. 
  • Our Sports & Entertainment Contract, Endorsement and Celebrity Representation Practice.  We have substantial expertise in drafting and negotiating contracts for our sports clients, including television contracts, naming rights and sponsorship agreements, suite license agreements, concession agreements and player contracts.  We also have handled several endorsement deals, including representations of both athletes and celebrities and the companies hiring them to endorse their products or services.  Our representation of athletes and other celebrities also extends beyond contractual and endorsement representations and includes advice in connection with a whole spectrum of legal and business matters.
  • Our Anti-Doping, Olympic and National Governing Body Practice.  Our Anti-Doping team literally wrote the book on doping matters, having served as the principal draftsmen of the World Anti-Doping Code in 2003 and the amendments thereto in 2008.  We have also handled high profile cases for leading anti-doping agencies, Olympic organizations and other national governing bodies (NGBs) and advised a variety of clients in connection with anti-doping matters.  We also have substantial experience in all aspects of the Olympic movement, and members of our Sports and Entertainment Group regularly serve as outside general counsel for NGBs and other professional and amateur sports organizations.  We have handled a variety of Olympic sponsorship and licensing matters, athlete eligibility disputes, challenges to NGB status, Olympic and World Championship selection procedural matters, athlete agreements and television, employment and other agreements for NGBs.  We also regularly advise NGBs and other clients with respect to their relationships with their strategic partners and the United States Olympic Committee, general corporate and litigation work, trademark and copyright protection, contractual relationships and other legal counseling needs.
  • Our Collegiate Practice.  We represent clients at all levels of collegiate sports.  In addition to representing the NCAA itself, we also represent universities, conferences and the National Football Foundation and National Collegiate Hockey Conference, among other collegiate clients.
  • Our Sports and Entertainment Specialty Counseling Practice.  We have significant experience counseling clients with respect to labor & employment, human resources, antitrust, estate planning, tax, charitable, merchandising and licensing, intellectual property, legislative and sweepstakes matters in the sports and entertainment industry.
  • Our Entertainment Industry Practice.  Our Entertainment Industry practice focuses on serving clients in film and television financing, production and distribution and in television, radio and Web-based broadcasting. We offer a broad spectrum of legal services to companies and individuals throughout the entertainment and media industries, providing domestic and international representation of producers and distributors of filmed entertainment in all aspects of acquisition, financing, production and distribution and representing television, cable, radio and satellite broadcasters of entertainment programming.

Our Commitment to You

  • Valued Partner.  We are committed to being your valued partner.  We are committed to knowing your business, the challenges you face and the opportunities in front of you, and our advice with respect to a particular matter will reflect our deeper understanding of your business and your goals and objectives in addition to the legal issues that you face.
  • High Quality Service and Sound Judgment.  We are committed to consistently providing high quality service and sound legal and business advice and judgment.  We understand the unique intricacies of negotiating with sponsors and other business partners, and we have the experience and judgment to understand the issues which are most important to you.
  • Cost-Effective Service.  We are committed to providing you with cost-effective service.  We have deep and well-managed resources to help maximize efficiency and manage costs.  While the majority of the representations that we undertake for clients are based on the traditional hourly rate concept – and while we believe that our billing rates and the comparative level of our fees provide us a distinct advantage over other firms of comparable depth, expertise and reputation – we have experience using alternative fee arrangements and are happy to work with clients to develop fee arrangements which meet their needs.
  • Communication.  We are committed to listening carefully and thoughtfully to your goals, objectives and challenges, to working with you to formulate strategies to help you achieve your goals and objectives and face your challenges and to keeping you informed and engaged as we help you achieve your goals and objectives and overcome your challenges.
  • The Bottom Line.  We are committed to providing world-class service to every single client, every single engagement, every single time.