Sports Law | Fennemore Craig
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Our priority is to protect our client’s valuable assets and guide good decision-making, personally and professionally, discreetly and confidentially. We represent professional athletes (NFL, MLB, NBA, PGA, NHL, UFC, Nevada Athletic Commission, equestrians and boxing) sports organizations, teams and professional sports facilities on a variety of matters. Our services include:

Individual Sports Professionals:

  • Due diligence - business partners and business deals
  • Player or coach contracts and talent agreements
  • Employment agreements
  • Immigration and Visas
  • Agent agreements
  • Celebrity endorsements and promotion agreements
  • Pre-nuptial, post-nuptial agreements and estate planning
  • Charitable foundations
  • Federal and state income taxes
  • Luxury home construction and purchase contracts
  • Personal injury and insurance coverage litigation
  • Salary arbitrations, collusion claims
  • Trademark and copyright counseling and protection

Professional Teams/Sports Organizations:

  • Concession and facility management agreements
  • Facility siting, development and construction
  • Support agreements
  • Tax-exempt and taxable project bond financing
  • Term loan facilities and revolving lines of credit loan facilities
  • License or use agreements by major tenants
  • Luxury suite agreements, club and special seating, advertising, and ticket policies
  • Public/private partnerships
  • Preferred provider, major sponsorship and naming rights
  • Sports franchise general representation
  • Foul ball and stadium related litigation defense
  • Sports Law Representative Experience

    USA Basketball (USAB) - Representation of USAB in connection with its planned move to Glendale, Arizona including the negotiation of development agreements with the City of Glendale and the real estate developer, support agreements for hotel and meal services to be provided to USAB and its athletes and marketing agreements.

    Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority (AZSTA) - Serves as general counsel to AZSTA, the owner and operator of the 70,000-seat University of Phoenix football stadium. AZSTA's activities also include the development and renovation of Cactus League spring training facilities, and the development and improvement of youth and amateur sports and recreational facilities in Maricopa County. The firm has represented or currently represents AZSTA in connection with:


    • Siting and construction of the University of Phoenix Stadium, home of the Arizona Cardinals and the Fiesta Bowl
    • Issuance of tax-exempt revenue bonds for the University of Phoenix football stadium
    • Use agreements by major tenants, including master suite licenses
    • Requests for Proposal and agreements for management services and concessions
    • Facility finance for development and renovation at Cactus League facilities for the Texas Rangers, the Kansas City Royals, the Oakland A's , the Los Angeles Angels, the San Francisco Giants, the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Chicago White Sox, the Cleveland Indians and the Cincinnati Reds.


    U.S. Airways Center - Representation of the Phoenix Suns in negotiating arrangements with the City of Phoenix for the development of the U.S Airways Arena. Fennemore Craig formed Phoenix Arena Development Limited Partnership, an affiliate of the Phoenix Suns, to develop and operate the Arena for the benefit of the City (as owner) and the Phoenix Suns, including the preparation of the Phoenix Suns/Phoenix Arena Development Limited Partnership/City of Phoenix agreements and documents for the financing, constructing, and operation of the Arena.


    • Represented the U.S. Airways Center (then America West Arena) in negotiations with the Winnipeg Jets (NHL), resulting in the relocation of the franchise to Phoenix as the Phoenix Coyotes.
    • Provided counsel for financing of approximately $100 million for the Arena, financed by the City of Phoenix and Phoenix Arena Development Limited Partnership, an affiliate of the Phoenix Suns, through the issuance of taxable bonds by the Industrial Development Authority of the City of Phoenix. Representation of Phoenix Arena Development Limited Partnership in re-financings, including financing for a $50 million expansion and renovation of the arena, initiated in 2001, that included the Budweiser Paseo located on the east side of the Arena and the sponsorship agreement and related opportunities related thereto.

  Hockey Arena, City of Glendale - Representation of the City of Glendale in connection with the Coyotes Arena, now the Arena. The Arena is owned by the City of Glendale and is operated, subject to City oversight, by an affiliate of the NHL franchise. The firm represented the City in connection with a convention center and hotel in Westgate City Center.

    Dodge Theatre - Representation of Phoenix Downtown Theatre LLC and Phoenix Theater Development and Management LLC in negotiating arrangements with the City of Phoenix for the development of a 5,000-seat theater (the Dodge Theatre) and shared parking with the City of Phoenix and the acquisition, construction and permanent financing for the project.

    Phoenix Suns - Outside counsel to the Phoenix Suns, Phoenix Arena Sports Limited Partnership (the operator of the Phoenix Mercury, Arizona Rattlers and Phoenix Roadrunners), Phoenix Arena Development Limited Partnership (the operator of U.S. Airways Center), Sports and Entertainment Services, Inc. (which provides security and other services for U.S. Airways Center and Chase Field) and the other Phoenix Suns affiliates. Fennemore Craig represented the prior owners of the Phoenix Suns in the sale of the Suns and its affiliates in 2004 and the firm continues to serve as outside counsel to the Phoenix Suns and its affiliates on its public/private partnership with the City of Phoenix, player matters, employment contracts, television, radio, advertising, ticket policies, charitable programs, sponsorships, promotions, licensing, financing and NBA-related matters, and related real estate matters. Fennemore Craig represented the Phoenix Suns in the approximately $1 billion NBA League-Wide Credit Facility and additional tranche loans thereunder and the initial financing and subsequent refunding and parity bond financings for the U.S. Airways Center.

    Joint Ventures - Representation of Team Shops LLC, a joint venture formed between the Phoenix Suns and the Arizona Diamondbacks (and previously the Phoenix Coyotes) for the retail sale of products for the Phoenix Suns, the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Phoenix Mercury, the Arizona Rattlers and the Phoenix Roadrunners at venues and other outlets in the Phoenix metropolitan area.

    Sponsorship/Promotions - Representation of sponsor companies in sponsorship and promotion agreements. The firm assists Phoenix Arena Development Limited Partnership (the operator of U.S. Airways Center) with its major sponsorship agreements, including naming rights. The firm also represented Qwest as special counsel for sponsorship rights at the Pepsi Center (Denver), the Rose Garden (Portland), the Key Arena (Seattle), the Delta Center (Salt Lake City) and the Coyotes Arena (Glendale).