Sports & Media

Bass, Berry & Sims represents professional sports organizations, media and technology companies and related businesses in the sports and media world with a full range of legal services tailored to the specific needs of this dynamic industry. The firm’s deep experience in corporate, litigation, intellectual property, data privacy and public finance matters makes us uniquely positioned to provide strategic, business-minded solutions to the legal issues faced by the sports and media industry.

We represent a variety of professional sports teams from the National Football League (NFL), National Hockey League (NHL), and Major League Soccer (MLS), as well as various sports organizations, including the National Basketball Association (NBA) and MLS. Additionally, we represent mass media enterprises, including broadcast television and radio networks, and various technology and marketing companies. Our experience in this industry includes negotiating the acquisition and sale of professional sports teams (including related franchise and expansion agreements with leagues), negotiating major sponsorship and events deals, advising on the acquisition and distribution of national and local media rights, and litigating ownership disputes.

Our comprehensive, multidisciplinary team provides a full range of services, including:

  • Acquisitions and dispositions of professional teams and stadia (including expansion bids).
  • Digital and linear content licenses and distribution agreements (including for national and local media rights).
  • Sponsorship and advertising transactions.
  • Intellectual property (including the clearance, registration and enforcement of trademarks and copyrights) and technology matters and agreements.
  • Sports betting operations, rules, sponsorships and data-sharing agreements, as well as related technology and financial services agreements.
  • Large-scale events and entertainment negotiations.
  • Joint ventures.
  • General corporate governance.
  • Antitrust counseling and litigation.
  • Rules and regulations of professional sports leagues and amateur associations.
  • Data collection and compliance (including with respect to CCPA and GDPR).
  • Bankruptcy and reorganization.
  • Bond and other financing transactions.

Areas of Focus

  • Professional Sports Advisement

    We represent professional sports organizations, strategic business partners, and related businesses in the sports and media world with a full range of legal services tailored to the specific needs of our clients. We counsel our clients with respect to their brand assets through sponsorship deals and the businesses whose strategic objectives align with these brands, negotiate merchandising and ticketing agreements, advise in the acquisition and disposition of controlling and minority interests in major and minor league sports teams, and assist ownership in change of control transactions and disputes.

  • Sports Media

    We partner with our sports and media clients in their pursuit of greater audience acquisition and engagement through the negotiation of television and digital media rights agreements, naming rights and other sponsorship transactions, and the numerous contractual obligations associated with staging high-profile sporting and entertainment events. Additionally, we represent clients with respect to intellectual property matters (including the registration and enforcement of trademarks, patents and copyrights) and technology agreements, including for emerging areas such as augmented reality, A.I.-based chat platforms and virtual interactions between consumers and brands/athletes/teams. Our experience in marketing and advertising law allows us to provide counsel to clients on high-profile marketing campaigns and customer rewards programs (including for consumer sweepstakes and contests), as well as to advise on the collection and protection of customer data and best practices for privacy policies of websites and mobile applications.

  • Gaming and Sports Betting

    Our team represents traditional gambling companies and sports betting operators as they take advantage of opportunities in the growing sports wagering industry. Leveraging our unique depth of experience advising sports and media industry clients and a nationally-recognized corporate M&A practice, we provide business-minded solutions to gaming clients on matters involving sports wagering licensure; complex corporate mergers and acquisitions; strategic relationships; digital data collection practices and privacy compliance; and the negotiation of intellectual property and technology agreements, including software and technology service agreements, digital media license agreements, sponsorships and data-sharing agreements. Whether advising on the growth, acquisition, sale, or commercialization of gaming operations, we understand the legal implications that arise and guide our clients through every stage of development to achieve their strategic objectives and mitigate risks.

  • Sports Financing

    We regularly assist both sports organizations and government entities with the multi-million dollar financings of sporting facilities. Our experience includes representing government entities in the bond issuance used to help finance the construction and renovation of sports venues, including NFL stadiums, multi-purpose arenas, baseball stadiums and convention centers. Additionally, we represent sports organizations in the financing and refinancing of all types of credit facilities (including term loans, revolving lines of credit and accordions) to support their capital expenditure and working capital needs.

Marc E. Ackerman
Audrey J. Anderson
Lillian M. Blackshear
Robert L. Brewer
Timothy J. Browne
Curtis Capeling
Leslie M. Ford
John L. Fuller
R. Dale Grimes
Paul G. Jennings
Jeffrey A. Oldham
J. Paul Singleton
Michael D. Sontag
W. Benjamin Tarpley