Sports Law

  • Holland & Knight's Sports Industry Team serves a wide range of clients operating in the sports world. We help our clients achieve their business objectives and solve their problems. Our clients include colleges, universities, associations, conferences, professional athletes, sports agencies, teams, team owners, leagues, merchandisers, private equity investors and other businesses trying to navigate the complexities of the sports industry.
  • Our attorneys' experience spans a wide range of college and professional sports and virtually all disciplines of legal practice, including facilitating stadium financing construction and renovation, forming sports leagues and esports teams, guiding sales of professional sports franchises, negotiating complex commercial contracts, handling team investigations, and negotiating complex television and media rights agreements.
  • Our lawyers also handle high-profile adversarial situations, such as representing clients in litigation over college conference realignment, conducting and responding to internal investigations for and by teams and leagues, league disciplinary matters, private arbitrations of business disputes, rights of publicity, multiteam trade disputes and more.
Sports stadium and field


The sports industry consists of billion-dollar businesses, innovative emerging companies, skilled performers and just about everything in between. In this highly competitive environment, our clients demand smart and experienced counsel to address a wide range of legal challenges. Holland & Knight's Sports Industry Team is a full-service enterprise of highly skilled and experienced lawyers ready to help our sports clients efficiently meet their business objectives and solve their problems on and off the playing field.

Holland & Knight represents clients that are engaged in all manner of sport at both the amateur and professional level, including auto racing, baseball, basketball, boxing, esports, football, golf, hockey, soccer and skating, among others.

Our Sports Industry Team's experience is widespread throughout the sports industry, having represented a range of clients including colleges, universities, associations, conferences, professional athletes, sports agencies, teams, team owners, leagues, merchandisers and private equity firms on all types of litigation, transactional and regulatory matters. These sports matters include antitrust regulation, conference realignment, construction law, corporate governance, data privacy, education law, employment matters, estate planning and asset protection, internal investigations, litigation, mergers and acquisitions, name, image and likeness (NIL), Title IX, athlete privacy rights/Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), real estate concerns, sponsorship and endorsement agreements, as well as stadium construction and financing.


Our attorneys help sports teams navigate business challenges to create the best outcomes for their organizations. Lawyers in Holland & Knight's Sports Industry Team handle a variety of matters, including:

College and Amateur Athletics

  • Advised clients on a host of matters concerning collegiate athletics, including NIL programs, Title IX, coaching contracts, protests by athletes and NCAA governance and investigations
  • Represented a major athletic conference on the employment terms for its commissioner following the start of its first media rights deal
  • Served as outside general counsel to a leading service provider of NIL compliance and education programs for universities in the Autonomy 5 and Group of 5 athletic conferences
  • Advised a major university on legal issues surrounding athletic conference realignment
  • Advised the association representing the interests of the athletic directors of the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision schools regarding proposed changes to the NCAA constitution and college football governance


  • Advised on a dispute on trade disclosures between NBA teams resulting in a seven-figure recovery
  • Represented an NHL club in a breach of contract dispute with a minor league affiliate
  • Represented an international racing league in racing circuit in litigation against opponents of an event because of noise concerns
  • Consulted with an NFL team and its owner on litigation regarding a team relocation
  • Represented a major collegiate sports conference in dual-jurisdiction litigation regarding more than $52 million in payments due from a member university's withdrawal
  • Won full exoneration of an NBA player agent accused of violating the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) code of conduct
  • Represented sports agencies and professional athletes in fee dispute arbitrations before the American Arbitration Association (AAA), Judicial Arbitration and Mediation Services (JAMS), Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) and NBPA
  • Served as lead trial counsel for an elite professional athlete and U.S. Olympian in a breach of contract arbitration
  • Represented a sports agency in fee dispute arbitration against U.S. Olympian track and field athlete
  • Defended a professional basketball league against domestic and international challenges to its uniform player agreement
  • Obtained a complete trial victory and determination of no liability for a large, privately owned international sports and entertainment company that owns teams in the NBA, NHL and MLS in a commercial contract suit regarding the management of a sports arena
  • Served as lead trial counsel for an elite professional athlete and U.S. Olympian in a breach of contract arbitration
  • Advised an NHL club on a regulatory and disciplinary matter related to a player contract signed during lockout
  • Represented a major professional team majority owner in a dispute with minority owners
  • Served as counsel to MLB regarding tax, intellectual property and other compliance matters associated with the 2018 All-Star Game
  • Represented the manager and other team employees with regard to an MLB investigation into allegations of illegal use of electronic equipment during 2018 and 2019 to steal opposing pitchers' signs during games
  • Advised the governing boards of universities in the Big 10 and Big 12 conferences regarding highly publicized allegations of sexual misconduct associated with their respective football programs

Professional Athletes, Agencies and Governing Bodies

  • Handled personal business matters for players in the NFL, MLB and NHL
  • Represented the business interests of four players that were drafted as the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA draft
  • Advised sports agencies on compliance with the Athlete Agent Registration Act
  • Guided sports agencies on applicable NCAA and professional sports union compliance
  • Represented professional athletes on endorsement agreements, as well as motion picture and television agreements
  • Worked with MLB team owners to plan and structure their wealth portfolios.
  • Represented the World Boxing Council (WBC) heavyweight champion against the WBC's order to fight the No. 6-ranked challenger instead of the No. 1-ranked challenger

Teams, Leagues and Associations

  • Represented and advised an MLB team since 2018 on a variety of confidential internal and external matters
  • Provided comprehensive anti-discrimination/anti-harassment/anti-bullying training to coaching staff, front office personnel and players of an NBA and an NHL team
  • Counseled and advised a new professional sports league on structuring their uniform player agreement, group licensing policy, code of conduct and human resource policies
  • Represented the owner of an MLS team in a sale to another sports organization
  • Advised an MLB team regarding the use and disclosure of players' medical information
  • Advised an online sportsbook to become an official betting operator in a multiyear deal with an iconic arena and the NBA and NHL teams that play there
  • Advised a corporation considering contracts with casinos regarding mobile sports wagering apps
  • Represented boxing promoter in negotiating boxing, television and co-promotional agreements for junior welterweight championship match between Terence Crawford and Yuriorkis Gamboa, and middle weight championship between Canelo Alvarez and James Kirkland
  • Assisted with the merchandising of products connected with the Super Bowl, U.S. Open tennis tournament, and NBA and MLB All-Star games
  • Advised a major online sportsbook on its three-year sponsorship agreement – the first of its kind – with a regional rail line to a major sports stadium
  • Represented major entertainment and electronic toy companies, including a company's electronic gaming division, before the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on accessibility and virtual reality queries
  • Represented an esports provider of content/music
  • Advised an egaming platform on corporate governance, executive compensation and initial public offering preparation

Stadium and Arena Development

  • Served as counsel to affiliates of a major league sports franchise negotiating master development agreement with a major metropolitan city for $1 billion development that would include a professional sports stadium, retail and office development
  • Represented an investor group in its acquisition of real property for an MLS stadium with a major municipality
  • Represented the general contractor in an arbitration with the electrical contractor in connection with the expansion of one of the most iconic and well-known college football stadiums in the United States
  • Represented the owner of a performing arts center in all aspects of its $200 million upgrade and expansion project
  • Represented the general contractor in a dispute involving the construction of a state-of-the-art performing arts center on a large public university campus
  • Represented one of the top national construction management companies in a dispute with a city over the demolition and reconstruction of a sports stadium in central Florida
  • Represented architects in negotiating and drafting agreements with respect to a major municipality’s football/rodeo stadium complex, basketball arena and related parking garage
  • Represented a professional sports team in connection with approvals for the team's retractable-roof stadium
  • Advised a major municipality and helped to negotiate a 10-year stadium license agreement between a professional baseball team and the corresponding coliseum authority
  • Experience in tax-exempt finance for stadiums along with structuring public-private partnership (P3) projects for a number of asset classes, including stadiums and mixed-use developments
  • Acted as bond counsel, disclosure counsel, swap counsel or special counsel to city and county governments, districts and authorities in virtually all types of municipal and industrial development projects, including stadium complexes
  • Lead counsel for local municipality in negotiations with an NFL team and organization regarding their departure and transition from their existing stadium to a new stadium
  • Represented NFL, NBA, MLB and MLS teams on a range of stadium and arena issues, including financing, construction, real estate, land use, disabilities law and environmental matters
  • Represented MLB teams regarding tax credit programs and renovations of iconic ballparks


  • Represents leading manufacturer of golf balls and equipment in major patent litigation and environmental matters
  • Provided general corporate advice and handled multiple litigation matters for U.S. distributor of leading ski and ski boot brands


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