For almost as long as professional and amateur sports have been enthralling fans, owners and athletes, BakerHostetler has been on the front lines of these dynamic businesses. Having served as counsel to Major League Baseball since the 1920s – in addition to having represented leagues, teams, team owners and sanctioning bodies for decades – we bring clients unparalleled understanding of the challenges, intricacies and opportunities facing leagues, teams and team owners, as well as developers, sponsors and other segment groups affiliated with today’s ultracompetitive sports and entertainment industries.
Our sports and entertainment team, with more than 20 attorneys, brings diverse practice experience to our clients, including labor and employment, government policy, intellectual property, litigation, real estate transactions and finance, land use and corporate and securities, so we understand and provide counsel based on the full context in which a client is operating.
Through our representation of leagues, teams and team owners, our attorneys have unique insights into the complexities of taking the development of a professional sports venue from long-term vision to reality. In addition, we have a strong track record of working with and counseling all the various parties involved in venue development, including dealing with governmental authorities and the creation of public/private partnerships.
- Managed legal and business issues related to the development, construction, financing and operation of Jacobs Field (now Progressive Field), a project designed to keep the club in Cleveland and provide the area with the related civic and economic benefits.
- Guided the City of Orlando Community Venues Oversight Committee through the development of $1.3 billion of public-private venue projects in downtown Orlando – including two sports venues.
- Engaged in successful legislative efforts to ban internet gambling on professional sports.
- Help MLB teams navigate increasingly complex immigration restrictions to bring talented players to the United States.
- Coordinated national enforcement efforts for MLB regarding brand protection and anti-counterfeiting, and developing and executing enforcement operations in connection with season openers, all-star games, and post- season and championship games.
- Provide executive compensation, employee benefits, immigration and general labor advice to the Orlando Magic.
- Successfully protected the United States Polo Association’s right to use images of its sport as trademarks. This significant trademark victory was upheld on appeal, gaining extensive media and legal publication coverage.
- Assisted MLB as Congress exercised its oversight powers to examine the role of steroids in sports.