Sports Facilities and Entertainment Venues

Greenberg Traurig's Sports Facilities and Entertainment Venues Practice includes a multidisciplinary team of attorneys who are experienced in the development, construction, financing, leasing and operation of sports facilities, entertainment venues and peripheral mixed use forums. The practice disciplines in this group include:

  • One of the nation's largest real estate practices
  • One of the nation's largest public finance practices
  • One of the nation's largest sports and entertainment practices
  • One of the nation's largest government affairs practices

The size of these practices enhance our ability to bring a significant depth and breadth of experience to each project. Our multidisciplinary approach promotes a collaborative effort among attorneys within our firm to identify opportunities and to implement innovative strategies to address the challenging issues which are unique to sports and entertainment venues, particularly those developed as part of mixed use projects. Our multidisciplinary team is able to deliver legal services directly to our clients, rather than have to rely on other firms to adequately address the spectrum of legal issues typically encountered.

Attorneys in our Sports Facilities and Entertainment Venues Practice have represented team owners, venue owners, developers, contractors, financiers, underwriters, bond trustees, professional sports leagues, colleges, universities, facility operators, corporate sponsors, concessionaires, and state and local government agencies. Through our representation of a wide range of clients, we understand the objectives of all parties with interests in sports facilities, entertainment venues and integrated mixed use projects, and are able to advise on how to effectively balance competing interests.

Attorneys in our firm address the following matters, among others, related to sports facilities, entertainment venues and integrated mixed-use projects:

  • Real estate development and master planning
  • Site acquisition and ground leases
  • Eminent domain/condemnation
  • Financing, including private, public and project financing
  • Securitized financing of revenues from naming rights, sponsorship deals, and luxury suite receivables
  • League franchise policies and regulations
  • Taxation of facilities, including payments in-lieu of real estate taxes
  • Tax increment financing
  • Government relations and lobbying - local, state and federal
  • Design and engineering agreements
  • Construction contracts
  • Construction cost contribution agreements
  • Utility services agreements
  • Emergency services matters and agreements
  • Government contracts
  • Facility leases and licenses
  • Property owner associations
  • Sponsorship agreements, including naming rights
  • Transportation agreements
  • Infrastructure agreements
  • Environmental matters
  • Liability and risk assessment and related insurance matters
  • Club membership programs
  • Suite licenses and seat licenses
  • Event licenses
  • Space leases, including retail
  • Broadcasting agreements
  • Advertising matters, including promotion and sweepstakes
  • Ticketing services
  • Trademark matters
  • Intellectual property and content licensing
  • Facility management agreements
  • Alcohol and food service licensing
  • Concessionaire agreements
  • Merchandising and licensing agreements
  • Corporate/entity governance and structure, including tax matters
  • Litigation - including bid protests, entitlement challenges, construction defects, and contract disputes

Practice Disciplines

Greenberg Traurig's Sports Facilities and Entertainment Venues Practice applies the broad interdisciplinary skills required to address business issues and disputes that affect clients in the highly competitive marketplace and we are focused on new directions and trends in the industry. In providing legal services for clients on sports facilities, entertainment venues and integrated mixed use projects, we offer experience in diverse areas of legal practice.

We recognize the pressures posed by dynamic business and legal forces, and understand that these forces create issues unique to each of our clients. Our consistent effort to add "out of the box" thinking enhances our ability to provide tailored advice on the challenges our clients face in an ever changing world.

Our Sports Facilities and Entertainment Venues Practice unites the capabilities of our real estate, finance, governmental affairs, tax, construction law, sports and entertainment, media and cable, litigation and other practices, enabling us to provide counsel on the spectrum of issues encountered in connection with the development, finance, construction and operation of sports facilities, entertainment venues and peripheral/integrated mixed use projects.

Real Estate

Our Real Estate Practice represents developers, lenders, institutional investors, investment managers, opportunity funds, real estate investment trusts, private investors and government agencies on matters involving diverse types of commercial real estate properties. We have a wide range of experience in complex financial engineering for real estate projects and provide counsel for the ongoing operation of real estate assets.

We represent clients in matters pertaining to:

(i) negotiation and documentation of development, construction, financing, leases and operating agreements;

(ii) negotiation and documentation of arrangements with architects, engineers, advisors, construction contractors, managers and bonding companies;

(iii) the design and implementation of master development agreements for mixed-use projects, including covenants and restrictions, easements, shared amenities arrangements, and private governance entities such as owners associations and architectural control committees;

(iv) environmental risk assessment;

(v) securing development agreements and approvals from state agencies, counties and municipalities;

(vi) advice on compliance with state and federal regulations;

(vii) structuring and documenting various forms of public infrastructure and joint development agreements for horizontal and vertical improvements, and school and other public-use site donation and related agreements; and

(viii) negotiation and documentation of complex interlocking agreements among state agencies, counties, municipalities, private utility companies and multiple private properties in order to put together comprehensive development plans, and advise on construction issues that include compliance with competitive bidding requirements and alternative methods of construction.

We understand the challenges of creating a successful public/private partnership when developing a sports facility or entertainment venue. We have a thorough understanding of the capital markets, underwriting and financing vehicles for real estate assets. We have broad experience in secured lending for major financial institutions and have advised on first-mortgage term loans, mezzanine and permanent financings, participating loans, construction loan facilities, securitized financings and syndicated credit facilities. Our diverse asset securitization experience includes the creation of innovative special-purpose vehicles to hold pools of securitized assets. We have worked with a range of lenders in the public and private capital markets, and can assist in the negotiation of a variety of acquisition, construction and development loans, as well as on loan refinancings. In addition to advising clients on real estate assets, we structure multifaceted relationships between parties for the ownership or development of real estate, including joint ventures, limited liability companies and subsidiary entities.

Project Finance/Securitization

Sports facilities and entertainment venues require an innovative approach to funding structures which provide financing flexibility and maximum debt capacity. Our project finance and securitization team includes attorneys who have been at the forefront in the adaptation of these techniques to the private financing of sports facilities and entertainment venues. We have worked with a range of lenders in the public and private capital markets, and can assist in the negotiation of a variety of acquisition, construction and development loans, as well as loan refinancings. In the course of participating in financings of more than a dozen major facilities executed on a project or securitization template, we have developed in-depth familiarity with the perspectives and requirements of necessary transaction participants, including local governments, design and construction firms, facility management firms, food and beverage concessionaires, ticketing agencies, parking concessionaries, broadcast and other media companies, and naming rights and other sponsorship parties. We have also had occasion to negotiate at length with representatives of the governing bodies of the principal professional sports leagues, including MLB, the NFL, the NBA and the NHL. We have developed an in-depth familiarity with the constitutions and other organic documents of the various professional sports leagues and an appreciation of their perspective and sensitivities regarding financings undertaken by their constituent teams. In these transactions we have represented, underwriters, banks, institutional investors, facility owners, and facility users.

Public Finance

From sports facilities and entertainment venues to the transportation projects that serve them, our attorneys have advised on a wide range of public projects and programs. We have served as bond counsel for financings totaling more than $43 billion, and we have served governmental entities as underwriter's counsel for financings with a combined value of more than $24 billion. The attorneys in our national practice group serve as bond, underwriter's or disclosure counsel for a wide range of financings by public entities throughout the United States. Our clients include developers, institutional investors, real estate investment trusts, states, state agencies, municipal corporations, counties, townships, school districts, special taxing districts, public boards and commissions, regional districts and authorities, and Native American tribes. We also regularly serve as counsel to financial institutions acting as trustees, credit enhancers, liquidity providers, and institutional purchasers in such transactions.

Sports and Entertainment Law

Our Sports and Entertainment Law Practice is one of the largest in the country. We represent clients in virtually every facet of these industries and apply the broad interdisciplinary skills needed to resolve business issues and disputes that affect clients in these highly competitive marketplaces. Our work in these areas include contracts with athletes and entertainers, endorsement agreements, advertising agreements, acquisitions and dispositions of professional teams and entertainment businesses, antitrust matters, production agreements, concert event agreements, labor and union matters, labor disputes, contract disputes, government affairs, copyright matters, trademark matters, intellectual property matters, merchandise licensing agreements, content and licensing agreements, sponsorship agreements, naming rights agreements, tax work, and wealth preservation planning. Our clients are diverse and include athletes, cable networks, professional sports announcers, Internet sports media companies, sports team managers, professional sports leagues and associations, actors, writers, directors, producers, mangers, agents, production financing and distribution companies, networks and studios in the sports, music, film, television, cable, and interactive media sectors.

Our entertainment team focuses on the music, motion picture, television, live stage and cable industries, including the convergence of new technologies, digital delivery systems and the role of advertising and sponsor driven financing models. We have access to many key players in the entertainment industry and provide clients with the pragmatic, time sensitive and dedicated counsel needed to thrive in today's multi-disciplined, multimedia entertainment marketplace. We provide our entertainment clients: (i) up-to-date entertainment industry knowledge and business-oriented advice; (ii) both talent and industry-side representation; and (iii) global reach and relationships in all entertainment market sectors - US, Europe, Asia, South America.

Governmental Affairs

We have one of the nation's top lobbying teams as identified by The Washington Post, Fortune Magazine, and The National Law Journal. Our national lobbying team is comprised of highly qualified and experienced strategists based in major political and commercial capitals throughout the United States, and is the largest state and local government relations practice of any law firm in the country. We have a strong and respected bipartisan team, comprised of legislative, regulatory, legal and industry strategists that remain focused on client needs to provide winning results. We help clients manage legislative and regulatory challenges. We also assist clients in navigating complex government processes. We have extensive experience working with public and private sectors and have the relationships and integrity needed to achieve client objectives. Members of our team throughout the nation served in senior positions in federal, state and local government. Armed with this experience, our team identifies the issues and opportunities that affect client decision-making and provides timely, strategic and responsive proposals to achieve client's objectives.


Our Tax Practice is a business law unit that serves public and private companies, institutions and high net worth individuals. We provide professional planning and advice and represent clients in many aspects of taxation counsel clients on the development of innovative structures to minimize the tax consequences surrounding new developments and increase the tax-efficiency for the ongoing operations of projects. Our experience includes advising on optimizing placement of debt, maximizing cash flows through tax-advantaged income streams, and negotiating tax abatement agreements with municipal governmental authorities.

Construction Law

We assist clients from the initial conception and project delivery planning at the front end of projects through their completion, and from the negotiation of contracts and preparation of bids through construction disputes. Our experience is based on a diverse client base including some of the top construction companies in the United States, owners, developers, construction lenders, construction managers, subcontractors, vendors, architects and engineers. Our attorneys are professional engineers, leaders in construction industry trade associations, and experienced in the field on construction sites. Supported by an array of practice disciplines, we are well positioned to handle the diverse challenges in the construction industry, including U.S. federal, state and local government issues, taxation issues, project finance issues, environmental regulations, bankruptcy issues, intellectual property rights, real estate transactions, labor and employment issues, and the Americans With Disabilities Act. This range of experience gives our clients the ability to solve problems and deliver projects that are built on time and within budget.

Media and Cable

We have attorneys with extensive experience in the media industry with a particular focus on representing broadcast and cable programming providers (including national broadcast networks, cable networks, broadcast station groups and professional sports teams and leagues) as well as on-line content providers. Our experience in this area spans a wide range of matters, including: distribution arrangements between content providers and cable, satellite, wireless and broadband distributors; television and radio station and cable network acquisitions and financings; and all phases of creation, operation and financing of media businesses and Internet-based entertainment ventures.


Our extensive trial experience and substantive knowledge of diverse industries enable us to aggressively defend cases and provide a competitive advantage when attempting to dispose of cases on motion or negotiate an early settlement. In the area of sport facilities and entertainment venues, we have experience ranging from litigation concerning the construction and maintenance of such facilities, to litigation on behalf and against vendors of products, issues relating to concessions and parking, and litigation and negotiation with labor organizations who represent employees at the various venues. We have also represented owners of facilities against individual sports franchises and entertainment groups, and represented individual sports franchises and entertainment groups in litigation with the venues. This experience gives us an overall appreciation of the complexities of running and managing sports facilities and entertainment venues and ability to achieve early resolution of disputes arising out of the management of these venues.


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At Greenberg Traurig, we are committed to diversity and inclusion in the workplace. The individual attorneys at Greenberg Traurig are committed to nurturing diversity throughout the firm and creating an environment where differences are embraced and utilized creatively.

For us, diversity is about taking action - opening doors for lawyers.

That commitment is reflected by the fact that overall, 40 percent of Greenberg Traurig's attorneys worldwide are women or minorities as defined by the American Bar Association. As of Dec. 31, 2014, our U.S. employees, including attorneys and staff, who met the definition of minority persons reflected a total of 29 percent of our employment base. Approximately 32 percent of our U.S. attorneys and 52 percent of our U.S. employees are women.

Greenberg Traurig's commitment to diversity and inclusion goes beyond any single committee. Committees cannot nurture; they cannot mentor; they cannot create an environment where differences are embraced and utilized creatively. Committees do not lead. Our diverse attorneys however, can and do.

* We welcome and reflect the communities we represent better than any other major law firm in our markets.

* We do not simply rely on a "committee" to achieve this.

* We do so through a commitment to providing a fair opportunity for each of us to reach our full potential.

* We have the personal dedication of many at Greenberg Traurig who identify and bring into our firm this very special diversity.

* The Minority Law Journal 2014 Diversity Scorecard has recognized us as follows:
o No. 1 Ranking, African American Partners
o No. 1 Ranking, Hispanic American Non-Partners
o No. 2 Ranking, Hispanic American Partners

* The National Law Journal has previously recognized our attorneys as among:
o No. 2 Ranking, Female Partner Numbers, Female Scorecard (2013)
o "The 50 Most Influential Minority Lawyers in America" (Three) (2008)
o "The 50 Most Influential Women Attorneys" (Two) (2007)
o "The 100 Most Influential Attorneys in America"
(Two diverse attorneys; three total) (2006)

Diversity in Action: Fostering Diversity in the Profession and Preserving the Pipeline

Greenberg Traurig's Diversity Leadership Community has initiatives that focus on fostering an environment within the firm that supports and encourages diversity and inclusion, and increasing diversity in the profession by increasing access to a legal education for minority students. Helping today's law students and lawyers become tomorrow's business and legal leaders means a larger, more diverse marketplace and a greater pool of talented professionals. And that means more business opportunities for everyone - our firm, our colleagues and, most importantly, our clients.
In this way, our approach to diversity and inclusion mandates a high-level of personal responsibility with regard to the recruitment and retention of diverse attorneys. Attorneys in recruiting, hiring and supervisory roles are continuously made aware of the progress of our efforts. Our personal approach to diversity and inclusion means that Greenberg Traurig lawyers are active at their alma maters and at law schools local to their offices, participating in such programs as career panels; "Meet the Employer" days; and mock interviews, among others.

It has been, and continues to be, our goal to create a well-balanced workforce that contains a significant presence of minorities and women.

Greenberg Traurig creates and supports partner programs with women, minority, gay/lesbian or disability-focused bar associations. We attend and sponsor events at these organizations regularly throughout the United States. The firm works closely with national and local minority bars to address the fostering of diversity and inclusion in the profession on many levels. We support the work of several organizations, including MCCA, NAPABA, NASABA, NBA, NLGBTBA, HRC, HNBA and others.

Additionally, we provide funding through the Holly Skolnick Greenberg Traurig Fellowship Foundation for lawyers and law students to work with public interest groups. Through the Foundation, Greenberg Traurig serves as the largest sponsor of Equal Justice Works Fellowships in the United States and has invested approximately $8 million to support, in whole or in part, almost 127 Equal Justice Works Fellows since 1999.

We invite clients to join us as we work towards:

* Cultivating strategic partnerships with clients and potential clients to leverage our diversity platform to create and deepen relationships and cultivate business opportunities.

* Encouraging our lawyers to facilitate opportunities for our diverse and women lawyers to develop relationships with clients before and after new matters are received.

* Broadening the pipeline of diverse attorneys by expanding relationships with minority bar associations and other legal diversity organizations through our combined support of these networks.

* Focusing on strengthening mentoring programs for female and diverse attorneys at every level.

* Instituting a program that provides a variety of mentoring, rainmaking and training opportunities that can be accessed by a wide range of diverse attorneys across a variety of underserved communities.

* Engaging our Affinity Groups and their allies as a forum for professional development and business development opportunities, as well as for recruiting and retention assistance and as a social exchange to promote inclusion.

Diversity in Action: Employee Resource Networks

Greenberg Traurig's Employee Resource Networks (Affinity Groups) have the goal of addressing the needs of our attorneys and professionals who are diverse. We support Affinity Groups for our attorneys who are African American, Asian American, Hispanic American, LGBT and women, and we continue to gauge opportunities to expand those groups as our needs and demographics dictate.

The firm's Affinity Groups are as follows:

* African American Affinity Group

* Asian Pacific American Affinity Group

* Hispanic American Affinity Group

* Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Affinity Group

* South Asian American Affinity Group

* Women's Initiative

Our goals include:

* Mentoring of junior attorneys within the specific group;

* Recruitment and retention of diverse attorneys;

* Active participation in organizations addressing specific groups; and

* Serving as a forum for group members to discuss and explore issues and opportunities that will add value to client relationships.

Women's Initiative

As an example of our approach, Greenberg Traurig's firm-wide Women's Initiative focuses on retaining and supporting women attorneys through professional development and work/life balance initiatives, as well as through business development training programs and networking opportunities.

We work with like-minded organizations to address these issues on a broader scale in a variety of industries and communities.

Our program targets:

* Attracting and retaining talented women attorneys.

* Supporting business development for women attorneys.

* Serving as industry leaders.

* Impacting the community through leadership and service.

* Maintaining a culture that benefits women attorneys.

Diversity in Action: Suppliers

Greenberg Traurig is committed to the development of Disadvantaged Business Enterprises and Small Business Enterprises (DBE & SBE) suppliers.

As such:

* All business concerns, large and small, majority- or minority-owned, are afforded an equal opportunity to compete.

* A national director of procurement within the firm supports this practice.

* We are committed to diversity with respect to our vendors and suppliers.

* We are amenable to using diverse vendors and suppliers recommended by clients.

Diversity from the Top Down

Cesar L. Alvarez, Co-Chair of Greenberg Traurig, leads our diversity efforts. This is a matter of personal responsibility for him, having entered the U.S. as an immigrant with humble beginnings.

He has previously been honored as follows:

* "Lifetime Achievement Award," Hispanic National Bar Foundation

* "100 Most Influential Lawyers in America," The National Law Journal

* "50 Most Influential Minority Lawyers in America," The National Law Journal

* "Top Most Powerful Hispanics," The Black Book of Poder

* "25 Best Latinos in Business," Hispanic Magazine, The Power Issue

* "President's Award of Merit for Diversity Efforts," The Florida Bar

* "Spirit of Excellence Award," ABA Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession

* "Lifetime Achievement Award," Chambers USA Awards for Excellence

* "CEO of the Year" award, Multicultural Law Magazine

* "Attorney of the Year Award," Hispanic National Bar Association


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