Sports, Arts & Entertainment

The competition for consumers’ hearts, minds, and dollars never stops in the sports, arts, and entertainment industries. Your product has to be fresh to stay competitive — whether it’s having the greatest team, the greatest collection, or cutting-edge facilities or amenities. We approach your legal challenges from a business perspective, helping you balance the dynamics in the marketplace with the financial realities of your business.

Our clients in the sports, arts, and entertainment industries include pro sports franchises, major cultural institutions, film and television studios, team owners and executives, athletes, and celebrities. As part of a full-service, general practice law firm, our practice depth and experience enables us to help our clients address everything from compliance with league regulations, maximizing revenue sources; endowment programs; facility financing and naming rights; royalty agreements; marketing, merchandising, and licensing agreements; intellectual property protection; and payroll and financing issues.  

Corporate Law & Transactions
Whether your business is for-profit or nonprofit, our counsel is comprehensive. We can advise you on general corporate matters and compliance as well as represent you in contract negotiations, debt and equity financings to raise working capital, mergers and acquisitions, and complex business transactions. We have represented pro sports franchises, owners, and managers in the MLB, NBA, NFL, the minor leagues, and action sports companies on issues including compliance with league regulations, sponsorship agreements, media contracts, and acquisition and sales of teams or interests. We have represented arts institutions in financing transactions as well as provided counsel on matters involving corporate governance, nonprofit status, endowments, and gifts from charitable foundations and trusts.


Employment Law & Executive Compensation
In the sports, arts, and entertaining industries, attracting and retaining top talent is critical to remaining high-profile with consumers. Mintz Levin’s employment lawyers can represent you in executive compensation negotiations and player and talent contract negotiations. We can assist your HR department with general employment matters, including policies, benefits, hiring, firing, employee classification, and personnel or labor union issues as well as with any employment issues that may arise during transactions. In addition to regularly advising owners on employment, labor, and immigration issues related to office, coaching, and stadium staff, our attorneys have represented owners, players, and managers in significant contract negotiations.


Facilities Financing
If it is a new wing or a new stadium that will help take your organization to the next level, our Public Finance attorneys can help you put together financing that serves both your infrastructure goals and the goals of your business. We have significant experience in stadium and arena financing and related agreements, including taxable lease transactions. If necessary, we can work with our government and public relations consulting affiliate, ML Strategies, LLC, to help you gain support for your project.


Immigration
Businesses in the sports, arts, and entertainment industries often need to secure visas for individuals with extraordinary abilities as well as secure temporary or permanent visas for executives and staff. Our attorneys can help you with your US visa needs. Our Immigration Practice regularly assists employers and individuals with securing work-related visas and green cards, guiding clients through the entire process as quickly and efficiently as possible. We also regularly help individual investors secure EB-5 investment visas.


Intellectual Property & Licensing
Our Intellectual Property attorneys can help you secure, protect, enforce, and capitalize on your intellectual property rights throughout the world. We have helped our clients in the sports, arts, and entertainment industries with the legal work behind maximizing their revenues and expanding their brand presence and awareness. We can be your single point of contact for licensing, trademark, copyright, patent, domain name protection, and litigation.


Litigation
In the sports, arts, and entertainment industries, there’s much more at stake than profits when it comes to litigation, investigations, and enforcement actions. Because your business is high profile with consumers and the media, how you handle these situations is critical. With Mintz Levin, you know you have litigators who will not only defend you aggressively, but will also do what is best for you, your reputation, and your organization. If that means taking a dispute to trial, we will be ready to do so in any situation, including minor or major breaches of contract, patent or trademark infringement, and criminal or civil litigation. Our attorneys can also work with you to uncover potential compliance issues before they raise red flags. In the event that you are under investigation by the government or an enforcement entity, our attorneys will handle the internal investigation and manage your response to inquiries. We have a track record of success in high-profile litigation, investigations, and enforcement actions.

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NHL Franchise Acquisition

We represented a group of limited partners seeking to buy out control of an NHL franchise from a general partner. The transaction involved a difficult “balancing act” in negotiating acceptable terms for the departing general partner, as well as the other limited partners and the League. After the acquisition, we assisted in a total recapitalization of the team and the raising of additional equity capital.

Stadium & Arena Financing

Our Public Finance attorneys assisted NBA and Major League Baseball teams in closing three of the most notable recent tax-exempt municipal bond stadium financing transactions, with an aggregate value of over $2 billion. Our work included the challenging negotiation of foreclosure rights, team relocation clauses, and other provisions of consent agreements with the governing leagues, as well as issues arising under federal securities law, including separate security questions and disclosure of financial condition.

Representative Experience

  • Advised a visual effects company for the television and movie industry on various management and employment issues.
  • Advised an international media executive on a compensation package in excess of $100 million.
  • Multistate privacy compliance and advice to an athletic club with facilities in Massachusetts, New York, DC, and California.
  • Ongoing data privacy and security compliance advice to an interactive marketing and media company in the business of producing and distributing premium new age, metaphysical, and psychic entertainment services.
  • Represented one of the nation’s most prominent record labels in various antitrust investigations of the record industry.
  • Represented one of the world’s largest art museums in defeating a union organizing drive regarding its retail employees. No charges were filed against the art museum.
  • Represented the general manager of a championship MLB franchise in negotiating and documenting his executive employment contract with the club.
  • Reviewed corporate contracts, including agreements for the sale of an NBA team to an overseas investor, to confirm that they provide assurance for the completion of the team’s new stadium.
  • Successfully represented a National Football League sports team in a suit brought by a disgruntled fan alleging First Amendment right to exhibit certain inflammatory signs at football games.

Clients We Serve

  • Action sports companies
  • Athletic wear companies
  • Celebrities
  • Film and television studios and production companies
  • Investors
  • Minor league teams
  • MLB, NBA, NHL, NFL franchises
  • Museums and cultural institutions
  • Player charitable foundations
  • Team players, owners, managers, and coaches

Representative Clients

  • Discovery Communications, Inc.
  • Home Box Office, Inc.
  • New England Patriots
  • Time Warner Cable, Inc.