Sports Law

We understand from experience the legal complexities associated with the business of sports, and our practitioners have earned reputations for client-centered service and a practical approach to solving problems. Whether the issue is high-profile or discreet, our Sports Law Practice can bring a wide range of experience and discipline to the engagement. Our roster of clients includes teams from the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, and MLS and our sports-specific experience ranges from complex business and stadium financing transactions, to investigations and litigation, to player contract, league governance, and compliance matters. We also represent several global sports apparel companies in matters involving intellectual property protection and disputes, licensing and sponsorship transactions, and commercial litigation. Professional teams and athletes also rely on Mintz Levin to solve foreign visa and immigration issues and to advise them on personal business, branding, and licensing transactions.

Every Sports Law attorney practices in one or more additional legal specialties, including complementary areas such as corporate law, public and private finance, litigation, employment and labor law, real estate law, and criminal defense. This multidisciplinary approach allows our team to bring a wide range of talents to each engagement, generating integrated solutions to put our clients in the best position to win. Sports law is an arena where experience, flexibility, and creativity matter, and we give our clients a competitive advantage.

Quick Facts


  • Ranked and recognized by Chambers USA, and U.S. News & World Report – Best Lawyers "Best Law Firms"
  • 500+ attorneys across eight offices — a national footprint and access to a strong international law firm network
  • Exceptional depth of knowledge in the sports industry
  • Interdisciplinary team representing several areas of practice and focused on the specialized legal issues surrounding professional and amateur sports

Areas of Focus

  • Acquisitions and sales of sports teams or interests
  • Employment and labor relation issues
  • Equity and debt financing for team acquisitions or working capital
  • Government investigations and
    enforcement – league regulation compliance
  • Immigration
  • Insurance and risk management
  • Intellectual property
  • Intercollegiate athletics representation
  • Internal investigations
  • Litigation
  • Marketing, merchandising, privacy, and licensing agreements
  • Media contracts
  • Professional athlete and management employment contracts
  • Retail and distribution
  • Stadium cellular, fiber optic, and other telecom transactions
  • Team and stadium operating agreements and contracts (scoreboards, concessions, services)
  • Team representation for internal league disputes and disciplinary matters

Representative Experience

  • Serving as outside general counsel to professional sports franchises in the National Basketball Association (NBA) and National Hockey League (NHL).
  • Represented various clients acquiring, selling, or investing in sports franchises, including NHL, NBA, Major League Baseball (MLB), and Major League Soccer (MLS).
  • Represented a major league professional sports team in arbitration over appropriate trade disclosures; obtained a seven-figure recovery.
  • Advised a major league professional sports team to successfully overcome an insurance carrier's objection to providing coverage under the team policy.
  • Advised a major league professional sports team regarding a dispute with the League office over contract compliance with League By-Laws and Competition Rules.
  • Advised a number of clients on all aspects of National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) compliance, including enforcement, investigations, infractions, and appeals. Negotiated the reduction of various NCAA penalties assessed to universities, athletics personnel, and student-athletes.
  • Served as bond and tax counsel on financings for various stadiums and arenas, including Yankee Stadium, Citi Field (NY Mets), and Barclays Arena (Nets/Islanders).
  • Defended a National Football League (NFL) sports team in a suit brought by a disgruntled fan claiming a First Amendment right to exhibit inflammatory signs at football games.
  • Currently representing CrossFit, Inc. in a suit filed against the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) over a study published in the NSCA’s premier journal falsely claiming CrossFit participants were injured during the study.
  • Advised numerous sports and event organizations, including Boston 2024 and LA 2024, on how to manage risk, including drafting bespoke insurance policies to cover different phases of construction, games, events, and contractual obligations.
  • Regularly advise apparel and equipment manufacturers in matters relating to consumer product safety, false advertising, intellectual property litigation, and licensing and collaboration disputes.
  • Advised the MLB Commissioner and an MLB team in connection with potential civil RICO claims versus purveyors of performance enhancing drugs.
  • Represented the owner of an MLB team in a US Department of Justice inquiry into the conduct of a former MLB player. The international matter spanned two jurisdictions and involved the Department of Justice Office of International Affairs.
  • Represented several high-profile sports individuals in matters relating to executive employment contracts, immigration, intellectual property and trademark disputes, licensing, and government inquiries and investigations.

Select Clients

  • adidas
  • CrossFit
  • New Jersey Devils
  • Los Angeles 2024 Olympic Bid Committee
  • ASICS
  • Anschutz Entertainment Group
  • Boston 2024 Olympic Bid Committee
  • BRG Sports
  • Kelly Slater Wave Co.
  • Madison Square Garden
  • Philadelphia 76ers
  • Reebok
  • Shawne Merriman, former NFL linebacker

Past


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Sports Law