From professional sports teams to athletes and from colleges/universities to corporate sponsors of collegiate athletes, our firm understands the nuances related to the industry and stays abreast of continual developments.  We build cross-functional teams that provide support based upon specific experience related to transactions, developments, disputes and entity formations. 

Our multi-faceted representation allows us to provide legal counsel that benefits from diverse perspectives. We often represent the following parties:

Corporate Sponsors and NIL

We regularly advise companies and organizations in structuring and implementing sponsorship deals, licensing contracts, marketing campaigns and other promotional activities in compliance with the statutory and regulatory obligations.

In addition, businesses are now able to contract with student athletes to help promote products, services and brands through athletes’ name, image, and likeness (NIL). NIL laws prohibit institutions from interfering with a student athlete’s ability to earn compensation for those business partnerships.  We provide guidance to businesses interested in contracting with individual athletes or collegiate teams.  We understand and provide guidance regarding the NCAA regulations in addition to the state- and institution-specific restrictions that can cause risk to an organization and student-athlete.

Professional Sports Organizations

Valued at over $500 billion, the sports industry is indeed big business. Vorys has been providing legal counsel to businesses for over a century, and to sports organizations for decades, using our attorneys’ critical industry knowledge.

Our sports law team is comprised of leading attorneys from a variety of disciplines who work together to help owners, investors, and franchises address the myriad of legal issues sports organizations face, including:

  • Commercial transactions, agreements, reporting
  • Licensing and trademark matters
  • Employment, employee benefits and immigration issues
  • Wealth management for owners and investors
  • Investor relations
  • Financing
  • Real property, including tax incentives, environmental matters, eminent domain, construction and infrastructure
  • Dispute resolution
  • Merchandising, retailing, eCommerce

Professional and Collegiate Athletes

Our sports lawyers represent athletes in connection with the negotiation of professional sports contracts and the commercial growth of their individual brands and personas.  Whether you are a student-athlete, professional athlete or coach, the integrity of your brand identity and other intellectual property is critical to unlocking and maintaining revenue streams. We have extensive experience in drafting and negotiating apparel and shoe contracts, as well as collector card contracts.

We have expertise in the areas of amateur and professional sports law, including state regulation of agents, the NCAA rules and regulations, agent regulations of professional sports players’ unions, collective bargaining law as it relates to professional sports, and the structuring of players’ compensation.  In addition, our estate planning lawyers provide guidance on wealth management and financial stability during and after professional sports careers.

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