Sullivan & Cromwell's sports and entertainment lawyers are trained across multiple legal disciplines, with particular expertise in M&A, corporate finance and real estate, as well litigation, intellectual property, executive compensation, tax and planning. Our tightly integrated team deploys the full range of the Firm's capabilities to provide clients with unified best-in-class advice and quality on virtually any legal issue that can arise within the professional sports and media industries.
 
We have advised on domestic and cross-border acquisitions and sales, stadium/arena developments, neighboring mixed-use real estate projects, team and stadium/arena financings, joint ventures and recapitalizations, and licensing and sponsorship deals, several of which were the most important transactions in the sports industry. We also have experience in high-growth areas, such as the sports technology and eSports sectors. S&C has also successfully represented a number of prominent professional sports leagues and franchises, and certain of their executives and owners, in high-profile disputes and governance matters, including litigation.
 
The extreme dedication to client service, attention to detail and commercial pragmatism of our Sports & Entertainment lawyers help us partner with clients to accomplish their most important strategic objectives.
 
Representative Engagements
 
Acquisitions & Dispositions
  • Frank McCourt and his affiliated entities in the $2.15 billion sale of the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team and Dodgers Stadium
  • MLB Advanced Media (MLBAM) in numerous transactional matters, including in MLBAM's formation of BAMTech (MLB's digital streaming technology business) and the sale to the Walt Disney Company of a majority interest in BAMTech over multiple transactions, and MLBAM in the formation of BAMTech Europe and related partnership with Discovery Communications and several early-stage technology acquisitions
  • Joe Tsai, executive vice chairman and co-founder of Alibaba Group, in his purchase of a 49% interest in the Brooklyn Nets from owner Mikhail Prokhorov and subsequent purchase of the remaining 51% interest
  • ATL Investco in connection with its purchase of the Atlanta Hawks
  • Advance in its $730 million acquisition of The IRONMAN Group from Wanda Sports Group Company
  • DraftKings in its combination with Diamond Eagle Acquisition Corp. and SBTech
  • Frank McCourt in the acquisition of Olympique de Marseille from Margarita Louis-Dreyfus, and on ongoing matters related to the club
  • Robert Pera in connection with a buy/sell transaction and his buyout of certain minority investors in the Memphis Grizzlies
  • Joe Tsai in the acquisition of the WNBA's New York Liberty
  • Wasserman Media Group in connection with various acquisition matters
  • DM Esports in its agreement to join The Overwatch League as the owner of an expansion franchise in Paris
  • c0ntact gaming in its acquisition of the Paris franchise in the newly created Call of Duty League
  • ASAC II in its acquisition of Activision Blizzard shares from Vivendi
  • Various minority investors in acquisitions and dispositions of interests in the New York Yankees, the Los Angeles Football Club, the Memphis Grizzlies and the Nashville SC
  • Bidders in auctions for various sports franchises, including the Carolina Panthers, the Cincinnati Bengals, the St. Louis Blues and the Los Angeles Clippers
  • FilmYard Holdings, parent company of Miramax, in connection with beIN Media Group's acquisition of Miramax
 
Capital Markets, Corporate Finance & Private Equity
  • Cablevision in its spin-off of Madison Square Garden and related negotiations with the NHL and the NBA
  • Madison Square Garden Sports (formerly The Madison Square Garden Company) in the separation of its sports and entertainment businesses, which included a spin-off of its entertainment businesses into a separately traded public company, and sale of Fuse Networks to SiTV Media
  • New York Football Giants in connection with all financings, ownership and other team and NFL matters
  • The New York Knicks and the New York Rangers on numerous financings
  • Atlanta Hawks in connection with various corporate financings
  • Delaware Life Insurance Company and others as lenders to the owners of Mammoth Mountain, Big Bear Mountain Resort and other ski resorts
  • Outerstuff in connection with an investment by private equity funds affiliated with The Blackstone Group and various professional sports leagues
  • Various investment funds in their investments in Liberty Media Corporation in connection with Liberty Media's acquisition of Formula 1
  • J Tsai Sports in an early-stage investment in Premier Lacrosse League
  • Wasserman Media Group in connection with various corporate and financing matters
 
Real Estate
  • Giants Development Services (an affiliate of the San Francisco Giants) in connection with its 28-acre, mixed-used development adjacent to Oracle Park
  • Atlanta Hawks in connection with the development of The Centennial Yards (previously known as the Gulch) in downtown Atlanta
  • The San Diego Padres in connection with the potential development of Tailgate Park adjacent to Petco Stadium
  • New York Football Giants and New York Jets in connection with the development and financing of, and other matters relating to, MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey
  • UBS in connection with its 20-year naming rights agreement for UBS Arena, the arena being constructed at Belmont Park which is expected to become the new home of the New York Islanders
  • Frank McCourt in various matters relating to the potential development of the parking lots surrounding Dodgers Stadium and associated joint ventures with affiliates of the team
  • Madison Square Garden Sports (formerly The Madison Square Garden Company) in connection with various arena and NBA and NHL franchise-related developments, including its bid to redevelop Nassau Coliseum
  • Joe Tsai in the renegotiation of the Brooklyn Nets' arena license at the Barclays Center and his subsequent acquisition of the arena
  • Jujamcyn Theaters in connection with the $115 million financing of its Broadway theater business
 
Litigation, Disputes, Labor and Executive Compensation
  • Office of the Commissioner of Major League Baseball (MLB) in litigation matters, including securing the dismissal with prejudice of a putative class action filed by DraftKings users against MLB, the Houston Astros and the Boston Red Sox in the Southern District of New York
  • New York Football Giants and New York Jets in connection with their claims and litigation against the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority and affiliates of Triple Five Group Worldwide related to the $3 billion American Dream/DreamWorks entertainment and retail development at the Meadowlands Sports
  • Bank Hapoalim in a DOJ investigation concerning alleged money laundering and corruption in connection with international soccer confederations and competitions
  • Thomas W. Weisel in matters relating to the doping scandal surrounding Lance Armstrong and the United States Postal Service Cycling Team, including in a Justice Department investigation, in successfully defending a qui tam action brought on behalf of the government by relator Floyd Landis, and in related civil litigation
  • Société Nautique de Genève in litigation with Larry Ellison's Golden Gate Yacht Club over the America's Cup, obtaining a key ruling that allowed the 33rd Cup to be decided on the water, instead of in court
  • Syracuse University in connection with its decision to withdraw from the Big East Conference and to join the Atlantic Coast Conference, including negotiations with the Big East concerning the terms of Syracuse's early withdrawal
  • Numerous teams, leagues and sports & entertainment companies in labor and executive compensation matters
 
Planning, Tax & Advisory
  • Controlling Owner of an NFL franchise with respect to his ownership of the franchise, as well as related stadium financing and personal planning matters
  • Controlling Owner of an NFL franchise in various planning matters, including with respect to the team
  • Office of the Commissioner of Major League Baseball and MLB Advanced Media in numerous governance matters
  • First Football in connection with its approximately 20% ownership interest in the Oakland Raiders NFL franchise
  • Owners of the New York Football Giants in tax and planning matters
  • Numerous high-net worth individuals and family offices with respect to their ownership interests in NBA, NFL, MLS and other teams, including estate planning and tax matters