Noteworthy Sports Law Matters

Irwin’s significant sports law experience spans three decades, during which time he has advised on a wide range of high-profile matters, including:

Joint Ventures:

  • The representation of Yankee Global Enterprises in connection with Walt Disney Company’s sale of its equity interest in the YES Network to a newly formed investor group with a total enterprise value of over $3 billion.
  • The New York Yankees and Dallas Cowboys' joint venture formation of Legends Hospitality, and the ongoing representation of the company in major initiatives, including its equity investment in DraftKings, its development of the World Trade Center’s One World Observatory and its equity interest acquisition in MainGate, Inc., a leading event, retail and merchandise company.
  • The formation of YankeeNets LLC, a first-of-its-kind joint venture between the New Jersey Nets and the New York Yankees, YankeesNets’ acquisition of the New Jersey Devils and the later restructuring of the company which led to the creation of Yankee Global Enterprises.
  • The formation and longtime operation of the YES and SNY regional sports networks, as well as the multi-billion sale of the YES Network to 21st Century Fox
  • The representation of Legends Hospitality in its entry into a share purchase agreement with private equity firm Sixth Street in which Sixth Street acquired a controlling interest in Legends Hospitality. 
  • Many prominent sports-entertainment joint ventures, including the Yankees and Hard Rock’s creation of NYY Steakhouses across the U.S., and a major food and beverage partnership between Legends Hospitality and Live Nation covering 34 U.S. arena.
  • The $100 million joint venture formation of Major League Soccer’s New York City FC, as well as the ongoing representation of the club in various matters, including the development of a new stadium

League and Team Formations; Franchise Acquisitions and Dispositions:

  • The formation and representation of several sports leagues, including Champions Basketball League, World Surf League and the World Freerunning & Parkour Federation
  • Numerous bids to acquire MLB, NBA, NFL, MLS, NHL and EPL teams, including the Boston Red Sox, Florida Marlins, Los Angeles Dodgers, San Diego Padres, Minnesota Timberwolves, Buffalo Bills, New Jersey Devils, Nashville Predators, New York Islanders, Aston Villa and Everton F.C.
  • Sale of interests in various teams, including the Sacramento Kings.
  • The representation of minor league baseball’s Staten Island Yankees, Myrtle Beach Pelicans, Scranton Wilkes-Barre Yankees, Binghamton Mets and Brooklyn Cyclones

Sports Financings:

  • More than $50 billion in sports financings, advising financial institutions, bond insurers, NFL and MLB teams, management firms, minor league baseball teams, team owners and regional sports networks.
  • Recently financings include representing Yankee Global Enterprises in connection with the issuance by the New York City Industrial Agency of approximately $927 million of refunding bonds for the benefit of the Yankees. 

Media Rights Transactions:

  • Significant television, telecast, radio and new media rights agreements for rights holders, broadcasters and professional teams, including the Nets, Cubs, Yankees, New York City FC, SNY and YES Networks and a multi-year telecast rights agreement between the New York Racing Association and Fox Sports Media.

Stadium and Arena Development:

  • Fourteen major stadium and arena transactions, including the development and $1.4 billion financing of the new Yankee Stadium, the development of Citi Field, the negotiation of a joint-use agreement with the NFL's Las Vegas Raiders related to the development of the Las Vegas Stadium, the New York Islanders Hockey Club’s negotiation of a partnership in connection with the development of a new arena complex at Belmont Park Racetrack; operational and promotional matters associated with the Pro Football Hall of Fame Village

Naming rights, sponsorship, and concessions transactions:

  • Represent both major stadiums across the U.S. as well as teams and leagues in naming rights, sponsorship and concessions transactions, including a concessions agreement for Angel Stadium of Anaheim, Yankee Stadium’s corporate sponsorship agreements with Toyota, AT&T and Bank of America, Belmont Park Racetrack, Audi Field; Legends International and Legends Global International in the creation of an omnichannel retail program with Spanish soccer powerhouse Real Madrid CF; New York Islanders Hockey Club in the negotiation of a concessionaire agreement with one of the largest privately held hospitality and food services companies in the world.

Additional Sports Transactions

  • The formation and promotion of major sporting events, including the NCAA’s New Era Pinstripe Bowl, the Formula One Grand Prix at Port Imperial and the Stadium Slugfest boxing tournament
  • Integrity counsel for the New York Racing Association, which runs thoroughbred racing at New York’s Aqueduct, Belmont and Saratoga racetracks
  • Ultimate Fighting Championship’s August 2017 fight between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor. 
  • Numerous sales and acquisitions for Leland’s, a leading memorabilia company, involving some of sports and entertainment’s most hallowed treasures, including:
    • Wilt Chamberlain’s 100-point basketball
    • Muhammad Ali’s Olympic gold medal
    • Jim Brown’s 1964 NFL championship ring
    • The estate of Mickey Mantle
    • The San Francisco Examiner’s collection of sports photos
    • Barry Bonds’ 73rd home run baseball
    • A major collection of Roberto Clemente baseball cards
    • The original Howdy Doody puppet
    • A Superman #1 comic book
    • Brown Brothers archival of historical sports photos spanning over a century
  • Outside counsel to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY