Skadden has one of the pre-eminent sports law practices in the country. We have successfully handled high-stakes matters for, among others, the National Basketball Association, the National Hockey League, the National Football League, Major League Baseball, the National Collegiate Athletic Association, the PGA TOUR, the United States Tennis Association and the Arena Football League, including litigation, antitrust, intellectual property, corporate, transactional, labor, insurance, player health safety, anti-doping and league governance issues. We also have represented numerous individual major league teams and their owners in general litigation, player disputes, mergers, acquisitions, stadium financings, venue leases, sponsorship agreements, corporate financings and project finance work.
Our attorneys have a thorough understanding of the legal challenges that can arise in the sports world and the best approaches for addressing those issues. We serve as a principal outside counsel to both the NBA and NHL and have been involved in nearly every major legal decision affecting these leagues for more than two decades. Additionally, we have played a principal role in many of the most high-profile disputes on behalf of professional and amateur sports organizations and teams.
Skadden’s hallmark across disciplines is our ability to handle the most challenging issues our clients face, including many first-of-their-kind matters. Our sports practice is no different. In the litigation area, we are representing the NHL in multidistrict litigation brought by a putative class of retired players for personal injuries arising from concussive and sub-concussive injuries sustained while playing in the league, and the NCAA in federal antitrust class actions by Division I football and basketball players challenging amateurism rules barring compensation for student athletes. Our attorneys also successfully advised the NCAA, the NBA, the NHL, the NFL and MLB in lawsuits against New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to prevent New Jersey’s authorization and licensing of gambling on athletic events.
Much of our corporate work draws on the extensive and relevant experience of our attorneys across multiple practices firm-wide, including M&A (team sales and joint ventures across multiple sports), banking (team sales and financings for the NHL), capital markets (Williams Invest Holdings’ €250 million initial public offering — the first-ever IPO by a Formula One racing team), intellectual property and technology (MetLife’s 25-year agreement to name the Meadowlands Stadium in New Jersey — one of the largest stadium-rights deals in U.S. sports history), real estate (the lease for the NHL’s new headquarters and a new studio lease for the MLB Network), corporate restructuring (the Dallas Stars’ and Phoenix Coyotes’ bankruptcies) and project finance (particularly the construction of new stadiums and arenas), among other areas.
Ranked in the top tier for Sports Law by Chambers USA 2018 and U.S. News — Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms”, named a Chairman’s Club law firm — part of the “dominant tier in sports law” — in the SportsBusiness Journal’s 2016 “Power Players: Outside Counsel” feature and named among Law360’s Sports Groups of 2015 and 2016, our practice covers the full range of matters industry-wide. Additional representative experience includes: