Clients turn to Perkins Coie attorneys to counsel and advise them in a wide range of sports-related matters. We represent professional sports teams and their ownership groups, as well as coaches, athletes and universities. From handling transactions for the design and construction of major public sports facilities to counseling sports industry owners and teams, we are well equipped to help clients reach their goals. Our attorneys draw upon the firm's national platform and depth of experience in transactional, litigation and intellectual property law to successfully resolve our clients' legal issues.
Our transactional experience includes:
- Structuring the ownership vehicle for professional sports franchises in the United States and Canada.
- Representing parties in the acquisition and sale of sports franchises and interest in sports franchises.
- Serving as general counsel to professional sports franchises.
- Negotiating credit facilities for sports franchises and ownership groups.
- Drafting and negotiating marketing, licensing, and sponsorship agreements.
- Structuring benefits and pensions for sport franchises, athletes and coaches.
- Handling development and financing of stadiums and other major sports facilities.
- Handling joint venture and partnership agreements.
- Organizing charitable foundations affiliated with franchises and professional athletes and other tax-exempt entities.
- Providing tax advice to exempt organizations regarding unrelated business taxable income.
- Assisting MLB and NBA teams in connection with resolving intellectual property and information technology issues.
Within the transactional arena, we have a very strong track record in helping clients with the design and construction of major sports facilities, television rights and sponsorships.
Our work in the acquisition, disposition and structuring of professional sports franchises includes:
- Acquisition of the Seattle Mariners.
- Acquisition of a United States Hockey League franchise.
- Representation of Liberty Media in connection with its acquisition of the Atlanta Braves.
- Acquisition of the Seattle SuperSonics.
- Acquisition of the Seattle Storm.
- Structuring of Major League Soccer franchises in the United States and Canada.
Our work in the design and construction of major sports facilities includes:
- Handling design, construction and supply components on behalf of the Seattle Mariners for Safeco Field in a public/private general contractor/construction manager with a guaranteed maximum price structure.
- Negotiating design, construction and real estate transactions on behalf of the owner of the Everett Events Center (Comcast arena) – a public/private design-build contract.
- Construction work for First & Goal (Qwest Field).
- Lease matters for Cheney Field (Tacoma Rainiers).
Our representations in the area of television and radio rights include:
- Local television rights broadcast agreements for the Atlanta Braves.
- Television distribution arrangements for an NHL Hockey team.
- Negotiations of media rights for MLB and NBA franchises.
- Television rights agreements for various production companies for professional and amateur sports events.
Our attorneys have assisted clients in negotiating the following sponsorships:
- $100 Million sponsorship of the U.S. Olympic Committee and the Salt Lake City Olympic Games.
- Multiple sports arenas and teams, including, Pepsi Center, Bank One Ball Park, Colorado Avalanche, Denver Nuggets, Seattle Mariners, Arizona Diamondbacks Seattle Storm and Seattle SuperSonics.
- MLB team in connection with stadium name rights agreement
- Sponsorship of U.S. Figure Skating and U.S.A. Hockey
- Various national governing bodies in connection with sponsorship and technology issues.
Our litigation and arbitration experience includes:
- Handling a range of matters in the franchise environment including land use, ticket sales, and antitrust advice.
- Representing players in arbitration proceedings.
- Represented general contractor in defense of $12 million cost of completion claim arising out of default termination on Soldier Field Stadium renovation project.
- Representation of The American League in Seattle Pilots – Seattle Mariners litigation.
- Obtained summary judgment from the District Court for Platinum Equity in an action involving novel claims of investor and directory liability, trade secret misappropriation, unfair competition, and other torts. Platinum had invested in a start-up company that provided sports agency representation to current and prospective NFL football players. Ninth Circuit affirmed the summary judgment.
Our intellectual property experience includes:
- Providing trademark counsel to NFL and NBA teams
- Assisting a local network television station in negotiating the resolution of a sports-related domain name dispute with a major university.
- Representing World Class Lacrosse Player Ryan Powell and Rhino Lacrosse in the selection and registration of trademarks and the enforcement of trademark rights associated with sports camps, clinics, tournaments and related merchandise throughout the United States.