Sports

Foley's Sports attorneys represent the interests of professional and amateur sports organizations and related businesses with a full range of legal services designed specifically for the sports industry.
For nearly 15 years, Chambers USA has recognized Foley as one of the top sports practices in the country. Foley’s multidisciplinary Sports Industry Team provides comprehensive, integrated legal counsel for the full range of commercial and regulatory issues facing organizations in the sports industry.

Our team is comprised of lawyers with the highest level of legal acumen, as well as numerous professionals who have held senior and high-profile leadership positions in the sports industry. This expertise fosters an understanding of the complex and multifaceted demands of doing business in the sports industry, which we utilize to offer you remarkable insight and understanding of the particular challenges you may face.

With our inside perspective and knowledge, we help clients like you acquire or sell sports franchises; find creative solutions for sports facility development, financing, and construction; and negotiate long-term media deals. Our clients include franchises and leagues, amateur and collegiate teams, owners, stadium operators, sponsors, promoters, developers, and sporting goods manufacturers. We also provide legal services for major championship events for Major League Baseball, the National Football League, the Special Olympics, and FIFA. Drawing on our historical breadth and depth of experience in sports, we are now helping clients navigate all aspects of the dynamically growing esports industry.

Core Areas of Counsel Include:

  • Mergers and Acquisition
  • Facilities Development
  • Labor and Employment
  • Litigation and Dispute Resolution
  • Intellectual Property and Technology

Representative Matters

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Tampa partner Chris Griffin is in the second year of a three-year term as Public Member, and Appeals Coordinator, of the NCAA Division I Infractions Committee. The Committee hears and decides allegations of violation of NCAA rules brought against universities and coaches by the NCAA’s Enforcement Staff. Mr. Griffin also served nine years as Public Member (five of those years as Chair) of the Division I Infractions Appeals Committee.
Foley represents the owner of an NBA team, in its internal reorganization aimed at separating non-sports entertainment properties from the NBA-related holdings. The restructuring and reorganization involves a unique structure and an understanding of the NBA’s revenue sharing rules. Foley’s experience understanding the NBA’s regulations, as well as our clients’ expectations has been instrumental in overcoming challenges pertaining to the matter. Foley is also helping this organization explore options for renovations to modernize their sports arena and find solutions for gaining public support of a renovation project.
Foley represented the State of New York in an agreement between the Buffalo Bills and Erie County whereby the Bills will play at Ralph Wilson Stadium under a new, 10-year lease that includes a commitment to stay in New York for at least seven years regardless of ownership. There is a penalty of $400 million if the team leaves Buffalo before 2023 with the exception that, after the seventh year, the team would pay only $29 million. After that year, the penalty would go back to $400 million. Foley helped develop the $400 million penalty which is more than the state has provided the team in incentives to remain going back to 1998. The agreement stipulates that the Bills will contribute significantly, in the amount of $35 million, to upgrades that will include new video displays, a team store and plaza and better concessions, while the State will kick in $54 million and Erie County will pay $41 million. According to Forbes, the Bills are the 28th most valuable of the NFL's 32 teams, worth $799 million. The Buffalo Bills, one of professional football's small-market teams rumored to have been contemplating a jump to Los Angeles, will be staying put in Western New York in a deal that will see the team get $130 million in stadium upgrades. The Bills originally proposed to borrow more than $200 million for needed stadium upgrades. The agreement also includes the creation of a group that will explore the potential for building a new stadium in Western New York.