Businesses and individuals in the sports and entertainment industry face a broad range of complex and specialized legal issues including mergers and acquisitions, commercial contracts, corporate finance, league governance issues, real estate, intellectual property, labor/employment, and litigation. For more than 25 years, Keating Muething & Klekamp has been advising a diverse mix of clients on a variety of sports and entertainment transactions and matters. KMK Law attorneys understand the way the industry works, how the relevant legal issues intersect with our clients’ interests, and can provide clients with high-quality legal representation at Midwest rates.
KMK Law’s interdisciplinary group of attorneys can guide you through a broad range of matters, including:
- Business Representation & Transactions: Sports industry mergers & acquisitions, including controlling and non-controlling sports team acquisitions, investments, and divestitures, acquisitions of sports businesses, naming rights and other sponsorship agreements, media rights agreements, and other commercial agreements.
- Finance: Sports-related financial transactions, including stadium and team financings.
- Intellectual Property & Data Privacy: Marketing, advertising, promotions, privacy, copyright, trademark, licensing, domain name, social media, and other intellectual property matters.
- Labor & Employment: Negotiations and compliance with collective bargaining agreements; coach, player, and executive employment contracts and executive compensation packages; local, state, and federal compliance with hiring, pay, wage and hour, and other labor and employment related laws, obligations, and requirements; pre-hire and onboarding assistance; background checks; policy, handbook, rules, and regulations drafting and promulgation; arbitration, litigation, administrative hearings, and court appearances.
- Litigation: Arbitrations, investigations, TCPA matters, and other sports-related litigation.
- Real Estate: All aspects of the zoning and project entitlements, multiple parcel acquisitions and consolidations, utility relocations and extensions, easement and restrictions, governmental processes involved in street vacations/ sales, and construction and financing documentation and processes associated with construction and management of sporting venues, and leasing and project management arrangements for sporting facilities. Experience with industrial revenue bond and/or TIF incentives for the development of sports, entertainment, and tourism venues.
- Private Client Services: Estate and tax planning for athletes, coaches, and executives, youth matters in connection with youth sports, and domestic relations issues for athletes, coaches, and executives that include prenuptial agreements, termination of marriage, child support, and paternity cases.
21C Hotel Lexington
Flying Pig Marathon
Newport Aquarium, LLC
Red Mile Gaming
Reigning Champs Experiences
National Flag Football
Ohio High School Athletic Association
- KMK Law represents FC Cincinnati in connection with the acquisition, financing, ownership, and operation a Major League Soccer (MLS) team, including with respect to:
- MLS expansion agreement
- Ownership structure
- Equity financing
- Stadium and training facility real estate matters
- Stadium and training facility public financing matters
- Stadium debt financing
- Sponsorship agreements, including a jersey sponsorship agreement, stadium and training facility naming rights agreements, and numerous other multi-year multi-million dollar stadium and team sponsorship agreements
- Stadium and training facility concessionaire agreements
- Local television, radio and streaming rights agreements
- Exclusive ticketing agreement
- Employment and independent contractor agreements with coaches, scouts, eMLS players, and other front office employees
- KMK Law represents public and private companies in negotiating multi-year exclusive sponsorship agreements with professional sports teams and major university athletics departments
- KMK Law represents Reigning Champs, a leading path-to-college solutions-based digital network for high school and college student athletes, parents, coaches and administrators in a variety of matters including:
- the acquisitions of Zcruit, a Chicago-based sports analytics company that uses predictive analytics to optimize the recruiting process for college football programs and CollegeAdvisor, which provides high school students access to digital tools and personalized support to help organize, track and strengthen their college applications
- Sponsorship and other commercial agreements with youth sports clubs, associations, and service providers.
- Reigning Champs Experiences, the operator of the NFL FLAG Program, in a variety of matters including multi-year sponsorships with national and international companies, NFL FLAG tournament sanctioning, and general operations.
- National Flag Football in the acquisition of flag football leagues and general operations.
- Representing minority owners in non-controlling investments with professional sports teams.
- KMK Law represented the Ohio High School Athletic Association in Roger Bacon High School, et al. v. Ohio High School Athletic Association, Case No. A 18 04426 (Hamilton Cty, Ohio).
- Representation of an independent record label in negotiation of pressing and distribution agreement.
- Represent numerous musical artists in connection with publishing, songwriting, and licensing agreement.
- Representation of musical group in connection with negotiating talent and production agreements for a television show pilot and digital series.
- Representation of authors in connection with publishing agreements.
- Assisting musical artists in reclaiming unpaid royalties from digital distribution of songs.
- Representation of corporate client in connection with drafting and negotiating agreement for the production of a nationally televised commercial.
- Of Counsel
News & Resources
- Cincinnati Business Courier,
- FC Cincinnati Stadium: Cincinnati Ballet Wants City Council to Hold Off on Key Stadium Vote Until Dispute is ResolvedCincinnati Enquirer,
- Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber Learning Center,
- 2022 NFL Flag Summit,
- Cincinnati Bar Association,
- KMK Law Intellectual Property Blog,