Locke Lord’s Sports, Arts, Media & Entertainment practice is an innovative multidisciplinary group that represents parties in various facets of the entertainment and sporting world. Our attorneys represent sports franchises in negotiating new stadium developments and arena transactions with state, county and local government agencies. We also represent professional athletes and other sports industry clients with their business and corporate interests.
Locke Lord attorneys have negotiated and completed mergers and acquisitions of sports franchises and also have experience in sports stadium development, naming rights and sponsorship agreements. Additionally, we are well versed in acquiring, selling and licensing of media properties and assets, including television stations, newspapers and radio stations.
Our practice collaborates with other Locke Lord attorneys to provide a broad base of knowledge in many fields, including corporate and tax law, real estate, construction, environmental, public law, insurance, labor and employment, intellectual property, antitrust and many others.
Specific representative experience includes:
Our nationally renowned practice represents municipalities as well as sports franchises in negotiating new stadium developments and arena transactions. Through our multi-disciplinary practice group, we address the real estate, finance, construction and public law issues facing those embarking on a prospective public stadium transaction. We have worked with parties building the largest and most modern stadiums in the United States by providing superior depth and breadth of service in all stadium developments.
The group’s extensive experience has proven particularly valuable in collateral development opportunities associated with new stadiums. In addition to providing clients with access to attorneys in the transactional real estate, governmental affairs and the construction fields, we are able to guide clients through the complex and sophisticated area of stadium and arena financing transactions. Our attorneys have been involved in many of the sector's most complicated project-based financings, including project financings, acquisition financings, leveraged and synthetic leasing transactions, public debt financings and restructurings.
Like the athletes, agents and managers we represent, Locke Lord attorneys have years of training and conditioning to work in the sports business arena. We have decades of experience and cover all the business bases that a professional player or an individual sports agent may face on and off the field (or in court). We have practical experience in all major sports and a thorough knowledge of the rules and laws governing these sports.
Our sports clients know they can count on us from one season to the next -- and between seasons. Locke Lord attorneys help negotiate player contracts and marketing contracts and also help develop and launch business opportunities that provide financial rewards to athletes long after their playing days are over. We represent athletes and other sports industry clients with their business and corporate interests. Our sports attorneys collaborate with other firm attorneys to provide a broad base of knowledge in many fields, including corporate and tax law, real estate, insurance, intellectual property and many others.
When it comes to disputes and litigation, Locke Lord has a stellar group capable of handling everything from high profile courtroom trials to low key dispute resolutions. Our counseling is discrete and our advice sound. With our experience and advice, players, agents and managers can focus on the game while we take care of the outside business with skill, speed and solid know-how.
Today’s professional sports agent faces a litany of legal, regulatory, litigation and other practical risks involved with the recruitment of student and professional athletes and the ultimate negotiation of their professional sports contracts and/or endorsement contracts. Simply being certified by the professional sports players associations is no longer the only requirement to perform agent services for student and professional athletes. The business of professional sports agents also is governed by federal laws, numerous and often differing state laws and, with respect to student-athletes only, the NCAA. Failure to fully comply with the federal and state registration requirements and recruiting policies, as well as ongoing reporting and disclosure requirements, subjects an agent to criminal and civil penalties, invalidation of athlete-agent contract(s) and, most importantly, de-certification by the respective major sports players associations.
Locke Lord has helped a number of professional sports management firms and individual agents design, implement and maintain comprehensive compliance procedures to satisfy the numerous and often overlapping regulations at the federal, state, union and collegiate levels. Our services include preparing and filing appropriate registration and certification paperwork with federal and state regulatory bodies, maintaining insurance and bonding requirements, preparing and submitting the yearly disclosures to the state and union authorities and counseling on the state-specific required disclosures to be made to an agent’s prospective clients (i.e., student and professional athletes), educational institutions and the professional and amateur sports governing bodies. Utilizing Locke Lord’s experience, our clients are able to confidently conduct their business knowing they are in full compliance with regulations at the federal, state, union and collegiate levels.
We strive to know our clients' short-term and long-term business goals and work on winning strategies to meet those goals. Sports clients come to Locke Lord for advice on recruiting and negotiating. They sometimes need general business advice or help to understand and meet state and national sports industry regulations. We help individual agents and sports management firms comply with these sometimes overlapping regulations and we are skilled at registration and certification, insurance and bonding requirements and annual disclosures.
Public perception is often an entertainer or athlete’s most valuable asset and Locke Lord has an experienced team of attorneys whose specific focus is to help develop and protect the messaging images, brands and advertising utilized by people in the sports or entertainment industries.
We represent our clients before several administrative, judicial and self-regulatory bodies which include:
Locke Lord attorneys are frequent contributors to industry publications and offer client alerts and CLE presentations on emerging issues in the field of trademarks, copyrights and advertising. Our attorneys are active members of and hold positions in prominent industry organizations, including:
In the realm of intellectual property, Locke Lord has successfully handled numerous cases for media and telecommunications clients:
We represent celebrities and sports figures, their estates and licensing agents to secure trademark rights in their names, likenesses, signatures, numbers and unique gestures. We prosecute and defend right of publicity actions in the state and federal courts. We also assist with compliance with the statutes of various states for registration of deceased person license rights. Finally, we draft license agreements and commercial agreements for use of the names, likenesses, signatures, numbers and unique gestures of celebrities and sports figures.
Company growth in the quick-changing multimedia industry demands innovative and reliable strategies for corporate and financial decisions. Locke Lord’s Sports, Arts, Media & Entertainment attorneys routinely handle the structuring and formation of business entities for a myriad of ventures. We understand the tax aspects, control issues and risk management involved in these transactions and counsel on numerous public and private debt and equity offerings for media and telecom companies, including Initial Public Offerings (IPO) and venture capital investments.
Our attorneys prepare and negotiate network services, interconnection, billing and collection, factoring, advertising, equipment, tower, office and studio leases, vendor, software, consulting, sales representative and employment agreements and confidentiality, non-disclosure and non-competition agreements.
We advised one of the first major operators of private satellite television networks on network, subscription and installation agreements, satellite uplinking and microwave transmission agreements, satellite transponder and space segment leases.
For media clients, we have handled financial and technology matters, environmental issues, legislative initiatives, employee benefits and disputes, real estate and collection matters. From handling an IPO for a national Internet access company to drafting and negotiating contracts to buy newspaper printing presses and television studio equipment, our corporate and securities and financial successes for sports, arts, media and entertainment clients are extensive.
Representative matters include:
Locke Lord Advising New Vision Television in Approximately $330 Million Transaction to Sell Local Broadcast Stations to LIN Television Corporation
Locke Lord Bissell & Liddell Successfully Represents Premise Media In Suit Involving Yoko Ono
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