Building a strategic game plan for success – and teaming up with the right mix of players – is just as important off the field as on.

Sullivan's Sports Law Group understands the complexity of the sports industry and is experienced in a variety of practice disciplines, including licensing, mergers and acquisitions, finance, tax, litigation, contracts and intellectual property. Our sports lawyers provide advice grounded in our clients’ business needs and realities. We advise individuals, teams, leagues, educational institutions and other organizations involved in professional, collegiate and amateur sports.

We assist our sports law clients with:

  • Brand management, trademark, copyright and publicity rights counseling and protection
  • License, use agreements, endorsement deals and sponsorships
  • Tax structuring and planning for organizations
  • Facility siting, development and construction
  • Term loan facilities and revolving line of credit loan facilities
  • Public/private partnerships
  • Tax controversies
  • Aircraft purchases or leases
  • Tax and estate planning for individuals
  • Charity and tax-exempt organization tax planning

Representative Client Work

Our sports lawyers have advised on the following matters:

  • Represented a Major League Baseball team in connection with federal and state tax matters and controversies
  • Represented State Bank of Long Island in financing of the acquisition and control of the Long Island Ducks, a minor league baseball team, involving a review of all aspects of the team’s operations, including its league franchise, the lease of the stadium from the local municipality, vendor arrangements and its stream of advertising revenues. The negotiated documents included covenants tailored for the operation of a sports franchise
  • Represented professional athletes in connection with federal, state and cross-border tax planning
  • Represented an ESPN personality in connection with the engagement of a premier sports talent agency
  • Represented licensing agents for Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer on a multi-year, nationwide enforcement program to stop sales of the golfers’ images and autographs by merchandisers and autograph collectors. The enforcement program consisted of using investigators and handwriting experts to locate and identify purveyors of the illicit materials, and sending hundreds of cease and desist letters, as well as obtaining press coverage in connection with the efforts. In the handful of incidents where investigation targets refused to cooperate, our lawyers brought civil actions alleging trademark infringement as well as violation of the golfers’ publicity rights, all of which resulted in successful conclusions
  • Represented the University of Notre Dame in protecting the University’s trademarks including the famous “Fighting Irish” Leprechaun in a wide variety of cases, including, preventing “Notre Dame” from being used in the name of a website selling tickets to collegiate sporting events, forcing a tavern to take down signage bearing reproductions of the Notre Dame Leprechaun, and seizing counterfeit merchandise bearing Notre Dame trademarks from unlicensed manufacturers

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