Sports in the U.S.A

ZAG-S&W’S Sports Law group is recognized for its successful track record in advising athletes, teams, leagues, educational institutions and other organizations at all levels of the sporting pyramid.

For example, we have represented a Major League Baseball team in connection with federal and state tax matters and controversies, and we advised State Bank of Long Island on the financing of the acquisition and control of a Minor League Baseball team, the Long Island Ducks.

Clients benefit from our deep understanding of the unique aspects of the sports industry and regularly call on our group to provide counsel across a variety of disciplines, including licensing, endorsement and sponsorship deals, merger and acquisition transactions, financing, tax, litigation, contracts, intellectual property, brand management, and much more.

In one notable example of a case involving trademark infringement and publicity rights, we acted for the licensing agents for professional golfers Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer on a nationwide enforcement program to prevent sales of their images and autographs by merchandisers and autograph collectors.

 

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 and state 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