Sports Law

  • Holland & Knight's Sports Law Practice helps teams, owners, merchandisers, athletes, universities, conferences and others in the industry navigate legal challenges to business goals.
  • Our attorneys' experience spans a wide range of professional and amateur sports through a multidisciplinary legal practice, including facilitating iconic ballpark renovations, guiding sales of professional sports franchises, and negotiating complex commercial contracts and employment matters.
  • Our lawyers also have handled high-profile adversarial situations, including disputes over college conference realignment, a heavyweight champion's bid to control who and when he fights, and location of a Formula One race.
Sports stadium and field

Overview

Beyond the thrilling touchdown passes, slam dunks, slap shots, corner kicks, technical knockouts and grand slams, the sports industry creates billion-dollar businesses that need smart counsel to tackle a wide world of legal challenges.

Holland & Knight's sports law attorneys have advised professional teams, owners, athletes, universities, conferences, gaming companies, merchandisers, manufacturers and others on all types of matters that can't be resolved on the field, court, ice or diamond.

These matters include mergers and acquisitions (M&A), stadium construction and financing, conference realignment, name-image-likeness (NIL), employment issues, commercial contracts, litigation, education law, estate planning, data privacy, corporate governance, construction law, antitrust regulations, intellectual property and licensing, congressional probes, internal investigations and real estate concerns.

Our clients are involved in professional sports, including football, basketball, hockey, soccer, baseball, auto racing, golf, boxing, figure skating and cycling, among others, in addition to collegiate and amateur sports and esports.

Teamwork

We don't play the games, but our attorneys help teams navigate business challenges to create the best environment for their organizations. Lawyers in Holland & Knight's Sports Law Practice handle a variety of matters, including:

  • represented National Football League (NFL), National Basketball Association (NBA), Major League Baseball (MLB) and Major League Soccer (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
  • 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
  • counseled an NBA team on a range of employment matters
  • represented a major professional team majority owner in dispute with minority owners
  • represented a major auto 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
  • worked with MLB team owners to plan and structure their wealth portfolios
  • handled the personal representation of players in the NFL, MLB and National Hockey League (NHL)
  • advised clients on a host of matters concerning collegiate athletics, including NIL programs, protests by athletes, NCAA governance and NCAA investigations

In and Out of the Arena

Virtually everything in a sports venue is connected to a business – and therefore has a need for legal counsel. Our sports law attorneys' experience includes:

  • assisted with the merchandising of products connected with the Super Bowl, U.S. Open tennis tournament, NBA All-Star Game and MLB All-Star Game
  • represented a major collegiate sports conference in dual jurisdiction litigation regarding more than $52 million in payments from a member university's withdrawal
  • 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
  • advised a corporation considering contracts with casinos regarding mobile sports wagering apps
  • advised a major university on legal issues surrounding an athletic conference realignment
  • 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

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