These are uncertain times facing all industries. Businesses everywhere are rightly focusing on what matters most–their staff and their customers. However, the next layers of disruption are inevitable and warrant preparation. The sports and entertainment industry relies heavily on sponsorships and hospitality programs involving assets such as sponsor recognition, naming rights, luxury suites, and other premium seating. Understanding the rights and obligations governing these programs sooner rather than later can help inform difficult budgeting decisions that may need to be made right now.
To help address these issues in your naming rights, sponsorship, and premium seating licensing agreements, Foley & Lardner LLP has assembled a COVID-19 Sponsorship Task Force to focus decades of sports sponsorship experience on your contractual arrangements, including the following issues, which are not always straightforward and are sometimes overlapping:
- Force majeure and indemnity disputes
- Sponsorship “make-goods”
- Missed game and cancellation protocols
- League rule preemption procedures
- Event activations
- Venue rentals
- Tour planning
- Sports and entertainment facility landlord/tenant disputes
The Task Force boasts a deep understanding of the sports sponsorship space. Our attorneys have extensive experience as both in-house and outside counselors, and are uniquely positioned to offer guidance and legal strategy in these uncertain times.
Kevin R. Schulz, Partner (Milwaukee): Kevin is co-chair of Foley’s Sports & Entertainment Group. Kevin is one of the leading sports commercial and M&A attorneys in the field, having negotiated numerous professional sports franchise acquisitions and sales, as well as many naming rights, sponsorship, media rights and ticket agreements over his 21 years of professional practice.
Michael J. Wall, Of Counsel (Boston): Michael is a corporate attorney with 22 years of experience on executive management teams of various sports businesses, including as Chief Legal Officer for TD Garden and the Boston Bruins for 13 years, and has deep experience in negotiating sponsorship and premium seating agreements from both sides and addressing a broad array of sports facility and professional sports franchise matters.
Andrew L. Lee, Of Counsel and Special Advisor to the Sports & Entertainment Group (New York): Andrew is a seasoned sports executive and litigator who served as General Counsel for the New York Jets and the NY/NJ Super Bowl Host Committee in addition to more than 20 years of legal practice in the sports industry and has negotiated and enforced hundreds of millions of dollars of sports sponsorship and hospitality packages across a variety of sports and properties.
Gregory A. Marino, Special Counsel (New York): Gregory is a corporate litigator with exceptional experience in sports business. Mr. Marino spent four years in business development with the New York Yankees prior to his legal career. As an attorney, Gregory has drafted, negotiated, and litigated sponsorship agreements for dozens of domestic and international sports properties.
For more information about recommended steps, please contact your Foley relationship partner. For additional web-based resources available to assist you in monitoring the spread of the coronavirus on a global basis, you may wish to visit the CDC and the World Health Organization.
Click here for Foley’s Coronavirus Resource Center to stay apprised of relevant developments, insights and resources to support your business during this challenging time, which includes Foley’s Sports & Entertainment Industry Client Alert: Managing the Commercial Impact of the Coronavirus: Implications for the Sports & Entertainment Industry. To receive this content directly in your inbox, click here and submit the form.