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McAfee & Taft’s Sports Industry Group lawyers represent professional sports franchises, owners and investors, sports organizations and associations, amateur associations and bodies, promoters and sponsors in a broad range of legal areas. In recent years particularly, the firm has played a key behind-the-scenes role in bringing a number of professional sports teams and high-profile events to our region.

As part of our multi-disciplinary Sports practice, our lawyers regularly counsel and represent clients in matters involving:

  • Buying and selling sports teams
  • Negotiating franchise affiliations/license agreements with professional sports leagues
  • Facility acquisitions and renovations
  • Venue naming rights
  • Arena leases and licenses
  • Premium seating license agreements
  • Concession and vendor contracts
  • Parking agreements
  • Media rights
  • Sponsorships
  • Branding, marketing and advertising
  • Licensing agreements
  • Mergers, acquisitions and divestitures
  • Business formation, structuring and organization
  • Financing
  • Taxation and wealth management
  • Economic incentives with municipalities
  • Intellectual property portfolio management
  • Business disputes
  • Entity formation
  • Employment agreements
  • Employee benefits and executive compensation, including contracts for coaches and other personnel
  • Real estate, construction and development

Representative Experience

  • Ongoing representation of The Professional Basketball Club, LLC, the owner of the Oklahoma City Thunder NBA franchise, on an ongoing basis in all aspects of its business, including:
    • Acquisition and subsequent relocation of the National Basketball Association franchise (formerly the Seattle SuperSonics) to Oklahoma City.
    • Negotiation of an arena license agreement with the City of Oklahoma City, including an agreement to substantially renovate the Ford Center to meet team needs and National Basketball Association standards.
    • Negotiation of a broad range of concession, vendor, sponsorship and licensing agreements
    • Acquisition and renovation of the team’s temporary practice facility and related matters.
    • Trademark clearance and transfer of trademark assignments
    • Counseling team management in employment and employee benefits matters.
  • Represented a publicly traded company and its subsidiary in acquiring the naming rights to the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, home field for the Texas Rangers.
  • Represented The Professional Basketball Club, LLC in its acquisition of the Tulsa 66ers, an NBA Development League franchise exclusively affiliated with the Oklahoma City Thunder.
  • Represented Tulsa Pro Hoops, LLC, owners of the Tulsa Shock WNBA basketball team, in general business and contractual matters, including the negotiation of the license agreement and related agreements with the WNBA and the negotiation of an arena license agreement with the BOK Center in Tulsa, OK.
  • Represented the National Basketball Association in transactions related to the temporary relocation of the New Orleans Hornets franchise to Oklahoma City following Hurricane Katrina. These transactions included agreements for the use of the Ford Center in Oklahoma City for the 2005-2006 and 2006-2007 NBA seasons and agreements with the City of Oklahoma City regarding certain incentives provided to the Hornets in connection with the relocation.
  • Represented Prodigal Hockey LLC, owners of an American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate hockey team based in Oklahoma City, OK, in general business and contractual matters, including affiliate agreement negotiations with the Edmonton Oilers and the AHL and arena license agreement negotiations with the Cox Center.
  • Represented the Oklahoma City Blazers hockey team and Oklahoma RedHawks AAA baseball team in general business matters, including the negotiation of multi-year arena leases with Oklahoma City and concession services contracts with national vendors.
  • Represented the Oklahoma RedHawks in business and contractual matters, including naming rights and sponsorship agreements. Later represented the owners in negotiating the sale of the team and its assets to a hedge fund in 2010.
  • Represented an arena football team in the negotiation and signing of an arena license agreement.
  • Obtained plaintiff’s verdict for Skycam, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of THE OUTDOOR CHANNEL, against a competitor in a lawsuit alleging misappropriation of trade secrets and unfair competition involving aerial camera system technology used at major sporting and entertainment events.

For more information our related Entertainment Industry Group, click here.