Sports Industry

As the global sports industry continues to expand, new legal challenges are emerging and transforming the playing field. The multibillion dollar financings and multijurisdictional regulatory regimes demand players have the same preparation and passion that teams exhibit in stadiums and arenas around the world. Cadwalader’s Sports Industry Practice offers the multidisciplinary experience and insight necessary to help clients build their game plans and reach their goals.

We represent governing organizations as well as individual franchises and athletes across a full spectrum of issues, including commercial and corporate litigation, enforcement and compliance investigations, antitrust matters, intellectual property disputes, employment and compensation arrangements, and municipal finance and securitization transactions.

Our attorneys are involved with high-profile investigations involving sports organizations at both the professional and collegiate levels. Recently we represented North Carolina State University in the investigation by the SDNY U.S. Attorney’s Office into bribes made by apparel companies to prospective student-athletes and their families to facilitate the student-athlete committing to play basketball at certain institutions. We have also conducted independent investigations for the NCAA into conduct by its Enforcement Staff and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill into allegations of academic and athletic irregularities. We are uniquely experienced in the management of and response to major legal crises in sports.

Our attorneys identify and monitor changing variables, analyze potential actions and outcomes, and make strategic decisions throughout the course of an investigation, managing the flow of information between the client, regulatory bodies, and the press. Our goal is to prevent or mitigate reputational and/or financial damage to clients and help keep them in the game, and our considerable government experience coupled with decades in private practice gives us intimate knowledge of all the players.

 

Investigations

  • Representing 32 NFL clubs in the Drug Enforcement Administration’s investigation of the clubs’ compliance with the Controlled Substances Act
  • Conducted the high-profile independent investigation into allegations of academic and athletic irregularities at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Retained by the NCAA to conduct an external review into improprieties allegedly committed by the NCAA’s Enforcement Staff during their investigation of the University of Miami and its sports program
  • Conducted a broader review and assessment of the environment, policies and procedures of the NCAA’s regulatory operations, including its Enforcement Staff
  • Representing the employees of a major sports association as pool counsel in connection with ongoing international government investigations into alleged corruption and money laundering by the organization, its employees and its affiliated organizations worldwide

Commercial Litigation and Contracts

  • Successfully represented Anheuser-Busch in a case against Major League Baseball preserving the sponsorship agreement Anheuser-Busch had negotiated with the MLB
  • As a co-defendant with the New England Patriots, obtained summary judgment and preserved Anheuser-Busch’s 10-year exclusive sponsorship of the Patriots against MillerCoors’ claim that it had entered into a binding agreement with the Patriots
  • Advised clients on various sports marketing and contract issues

10 Attorneys

Avergun, Jodi L. Partner Washington
T. +1 202 862 2456
Blanche, Todd Partner New York
T. +1 212 504 6226
Goldstein, Stuart N. Partner Charlotte
T. +1 704 348 5258
New York
T. +1 212 504 6316
Larson, Christian Associate Washington
T. +1 202 862 2402
Maher, Helen M. Partner New York
T. +1 212 504 6502
Natbony, William J. Counsel New York
T. +1 212 504 6351
Smith, Brad Senior Attorney New York
T. +1 212 504 6616
Tompkins, Anne M. Partner Charlotte
T. +1 704 348 5222
Washington
T. +1 202 862 2496
Urban, Lex Special Counsel New York
T. +1 212 504 6509
Weiss, Stephen Associate Washington
T. +1 202 862 2347