Michael J. Wall is of counsel and a business lawyer for Foley & Lardner LLP where he is a part of the Transactional & Securities Practice and the Sports & Entertainment Industry Team.
Before joining Foley, Michael served for 22 years on executive management teams of various businesses directly related to sports. For 13 years, Michael was the sole in-house counsel for the TD Garden and Boston Bruins, followed by nine years as General Counsel for Performance Sports Group, Ltd.—the former manufacturer of BAUER hockey, EASTON baseball, and CASCADE/MAVERIK lacrosse equipment and apparel.
Michael’s corporate law background includes public company corporate governance, M&A, litigation strategy, intellectual property procurement, management and enforcement, and consumer products regulatory compliance. Michael’s first-hand daily involvement in the sports and entertainment arena position him to counsel clients seeking to acquire or sell sports franchises; to finance, develop and construct sports and entertainment venues; and to negotiate the myriad agreements that are necessary to capture and preserve the revenue-generating opportunities ancillary to stadium and team operations.
Michael was executive vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary while at Performance Sports Group. In this role, Michael oversaw the company's initial public offerings on the New York Stock Exchange and Toronto Stock Exchange and helped grow the company from a single-sport $200 million company to a multi-sports enterprise with revenues in excess of $600 million. He also coordinated the adoption and implementation of a public company corporate governance program under U.S. and Canadian securities law, supervised eight business acquisitions between 2008 and 2016, and managed an IP portfolio inclusive of more than 800 patents, among other duties. Michael represented the company in its filing of voluntary petitions for protection under U.S. and Canadian bankruptcy law in order to facilitate a financial and corporate restructuring thorough a going-concern sale of the company’s assets and served as president of the bankruptcy estate following the closing of the sale.
Before joining Performance Sports Group, Michael served as chief legal officer for the Boston operations of Delaware North Companies, including the TD Garden, the Boston Bruins NHL franchise, and the concessionaires for the TD Garden, the Xfinity Center and Boston University's Agganis Arena. Serving in this role from 1995 through 2008, Michael counseled the executive management team of each entity on all legal aspects of their operations and business relationships.
Michael serves as president and board chair of USA Team Handball, which is the U.S. national governing body for the Olympic discipline of team handball and is responsible for the development of grassroots programs, preparation of national teams for international competition, including the Pan American and Olympic Games - as well as the day-to-day oversight of the sport of team handball in the United States. The mission of USATH is to develop, promote, educate and grow the sport of team handball at all levels domestically, and to enable U.S. athletes to achieve sustained competitive excellence to win medals in international and Olympic competition. USATH is a member of the International Handball Federation, the North American and Caribbean Handball Confederation, and the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee, and is headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
- For the TD Garden, Michael advised executive management, concerning all legal aspects of arena operations and the arena’s relationships with long-term tenants (the Boston Celtics and Boston Bruins), event promoters, advertisers, sponsors, premium seating clients, abutting landowners, and state and municipal authorities. Michael is well-versed in legal matters pertinent to the ownership, management and operation of multi-use sports and entertainment venues, including the negotiation, drafting and enforcement of the following types of agreements:
- Naming rights agreements
- Advertising and sponsorship agreements
- Premium seating agreements
- Concert and other event license agreements
- Beverage pouring rights agreements
- Building use leases, including professional sports teams’ leases
- Concessions agreements
- Michael has significant experience in addressing substantive legal matters that arise in arena operations, such as ADA compliance, risk management and personal injury litigation, premium seating program development and legal maintenance, ticketing operations, sweepstakes and other contests, and concessions operations, including liquor license maintenance.
- For the Boston Bruins, Michael counseled executive management concerning all legal aspects of the franchise’s operations, including advice with respect to the NHL-NHLPA collective bargaining agreement, and the club’s relationships with players, the NHL and its member clubs, NESN (a regional sports network owned by the Boston Red Sox and the Boston Bruins), broadcast rights holders, and advertisers and sponsors.
- During his tenure with the NHL club, Michael addressed legal matters pertinent to the ownership and operation of a major professional sports franchise, including the negotiation, drafting and enforcement of the following types of agreements:
- Building use leases between the franchise and arena owner
- Television and radio broadcast rights agreements
- Regional sports network partnership agreements
- Advertising, marketing and sponsorship agreements
- Coaches and other management employment contracts
- Player contracts
- Intellectual property licensing agreements
- Athlete endorsement licensing agreements
With specific reference to Michael’s service to the TD Garden, the Boston Bruins, and the Sportservice concessions entities, his major undertakings and experience include the following:
- Closure of the legal department for the old Boston Garden and establishment of a new legal department with the opening of the FleetCenter in 1995
- Negotiation and drafting of several revisions to the arena’s 1993 naming rights agreement to reflect assignment of the agreement from Shawmut Bank to Fleet Bank in 1995 and the early termination of the agreement by Bank of America in 2004 and of a new naming rights agreement with TD Bank in 2005
- Assistance in the negotiation of a restructuring of the economic arrangement between the Boston Celtics and the arena and drafting of the new venue lease in 2006
- Service as the arena’s sole legal representation for its hosting of the 2004 Democratic National Convention and as a member of the legal subcommittee formed among federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies to prepare for the convention; negotiation of the Master Convention Agreement among the Democratic National Convention Committee, the City of Boston organizing committees, and the arena and all ancillary agreements pertaining to the “four wall” use of the venue
- Attendance at NESN Board of Director meetings from 1996-2008; assistance in the negotiation of amended broadcast rights agreements between the teams and NESN following the network’s conversion from a premium to basic cable service and in the restructuring of the partnership relationship between the Red Sox and the Bruins
- Assistance in mitigating and resolving the economic consequences and legal implications that arose out of the 1994-95 and 2004-05 NHL and 1998-99 NBA work stoppages
- Liaison between the Bruins and the NHL league office concerning NHLPA grievances and intellectual property matters
- Incorporation of Garden Neighborhood Charities, Inc. and the Boston Bruins Charitable Foundation, Inc. and advising as to their non-profit activities; management of all legal aspects pertinent to the operation of the Sports Museum of New England within the arena
- Drafting of concessions license agreements for the Sportservice entities at the Xfinity Center in Mansfield, Massachusetts and the Agganis Arena at Boston University and management of all legal aspects of their operations at these venues and at the TD Garden, including liquor license maintenance
Michael served in private practice for seven years earlier in his career, during which time he represented a prominent international athletic footwear manufacturer, including domestic and international licensing, distribution and supply arrangements, endorsement contracts, advertising and sponsorship agreements, and trademark licensing and protection. As General Counsel for Performance Sports Group, an industry-leading sporting goods equipment manufacturer, his substantive corporate law experience include the following:
- Mergers and acquisitions (eight acquisitions from 2008 through 2016 and the sale of substantially all of the assets of the company in 2017)
- Public securities offerings in the U.S. and Canada (IPOs on the Toronto Stock Exchange in 2011 and on the NYSE in 2014)
- Public company securities law compliance under U.S. and Canadian law
- Adoption and implementation of a corporate governance “best practices” program for U.S. domestic issuers
- Strategy implementation to address shareholder activists
- Proxy contests
- Compliance with antitrust and competition law in the U.S., Canada and the EEA
- Product safety and regulatory compliance
- Product recalls under the CPSC and Health Canada regulatory regimes
- Intellectual property procurement, maintenance and enforcement
- Financial workouts/restructurings
- Bankruptcy proceedings in the U.S. and Canada
- Boston College Law School (J.D., 1988)
- College of the Holy Cross (B.A., cum laude, 1984)
- Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Alpha Theta
Michael has been a member of the advisory board of Boston Bruins Charitable Foundation, Inc. since 2015. Formerly, he has served on the board of directors for the Boston Bruins Charitable Foundation, Inc., the NHL Pension Society, Good Sports, Inc. and HopeFound Inc.