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For over 100 years, BakerHostetler has been a leading law firm in the sports industry providing unparalleled counsel to clients ranging from major league teams and team owners to developers and sponsors. With a deep understanding of the challenges, intricacies and opportunities facing these dynamic businesses, our team of experienced attorneys brings diverse practice knowledge, including in sports labor law, government policy, intellectual property, litigation, real estate transactions and finance, land use, and corporate and securities law.

Sports venues

  • Serving as lead outside counsel, we:
    • Guided the city of Orlando’s Community Venues Oversight Committee through a $1.3 billion development of public-private venue projects in downtown Orlando, resulting in three new sports venues.
    • Represented a professional sports team in a $300+ million mixed-use development project involving the construction of a sports venue, a hotel, commercial retail space, a public plaza, a conference center and a parking structure. This involved the acquisition and redevelopment of an entire city block.
    • Managed all aspects of approvals and public financing for the construction of spring training facilities for three Major League Baseball (MLB) teams – the Toronto Blue Jays, St. Louis Cardinals and Miami Marlins. Project costs ranged from $80 million to $120 million.
    • Helped the United States Tennis Association (USTA) develop a 63-acre, $80 million state-of-the-art training facility – the largest in the world – that also serves as the USTA’s national headquarters.
    • Facilitated a client’s acquisition of Major League Soccer (MLS), the National Women’s Soccer League and MLS Next franchises, including an MLS stadium and its related facilities.
  • We managed the legal and business issues surrounding the development, construction, financing and operation of Cleveland’s Jacobs Field (now Progressive Field). This not only benefited the Cleveland Indians (now Guardians), it also kept the MLB team in the city and provided additional civic and economic benefits.
  • For the National Football League’s (NFL) Minnesota Vikings, we helped negotiate the naming rights agreement for US Bank Stadium as well as an agreement with Twin Cities Orthopedics/Viking Lakes to be the Vikings’ official sports medicine provider.
  • We worked with the National Basketball Association’s Orlando Magic in its development of the team’s Advent Health Training Facility.
  • We help multiple leagues and sports franchises negotiate sponsorship agreements for a number of categories, including alcohol, technology and CBD products.
  • We helped an NFL franchise complete due diligence and feasibility requirements associated with the redevelopment of its stadium.
  • We assisted the MLB with a long-term lease and use agreement associated with Jackie Robinson Stadium (formerly Dodgertown) in Vero Beach, Florida.
  • We assisted the MLB with the agreements associated with the Field of Dreams Game in Dyersville, Iowa.

Brand and intellectual property

  • For the MLB, we coordinated national brand protection and enforcement efforts, including anticounterfeiting and developing and executing enforcement operations in connection with season openers, all-star games, and postseason and championship games.
  • We assist universities and businesses that want to engage student athletes in name, image and likeness .

Compliance and risk management

  • We actively investigate allegations of Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) violations around the world, and our White Collar team routinely provides proactive counseling so that our sports clients can avoid costly FCPA investigations.
  • We have helped MLB teams navigate increasingly complex immigration restrictions in order to bring talented players to the U.S. – for example, by successfully petitioning the Office of Foreign Assets Control to secure the rights of Venezuelan baseball players to play at all levels in the MLB.
  • For multiple sports franchises facing subpoenas from the Justice Department’s Office of Antitrust, we have assisted with crafting responses about the influence of ticketing entities in sports and entertainment.
  • We have counseled clients in addressing highly sensitive allegations involving the alleged abuse of Olympic athletes.
  • We provide tax advice and assist sports ownership groups and certain athletes with establishing charitable foundations.
  • We advise clients on gaming laws and the most advantageous gaming models state by state.
  • We provide executive compensation, employee benefits, immigration and general labor advice to the Orlando Magic.

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