Frankfurt Kurnit’s Sports Group represents a wide variety of clients, including leagues, teams, international governing bodies, and other rights holders; leading corporate sponsors, sports brands, marketing agencies and content distributors; and well-known athletes, coaches, sportscasters, sportswriters, executives and management companies.
Our representative clients include the National Hockey League, which we advise on worldwide brand development and management, merchandising and branding, entertainment and marketing, and protection and enforcement of its IP – and the IP of its 31 teams. We advise leading footwear and apparel companies, the preeminent sports beverage brand, a global credit card and payment provider, several beer and spirits brands, consumer products brands, and a global QSR brand on their sports marketing, endorsement, branding, naming rights, and advertising initiatives. We counsel high-profile athletes – NBA champions, World Cup winners, and Olympic medalists – on a wide range of matters, including their off-the-field activities in media and entertainment. We also represent numerous producers of Super Bowl and other premiere sports event advertisements – and the Armory Track and Field Center, home of the National Track & Field Hall of Fame.
The type of work we provide includes the following:
Activate Sponsorships and Related Marketing Campaigns
We advise both sponsors and sports properties on the structure and negotiation of sponsorship and endorsement arrangements, and we help develop and clear the related marketing campaigns, including those for the Olympics, World Cup, and Super Bowl. We have worked on projects totalling more than $1 billion in value.
Develop and Protect Sports Brands
We advise sports brands and other intellectual property holders on worldwide brand development, creation of branding strategies, and licensing and protection of intellectual property. We also develop and protect trademarks, publicity rights, and other intellectual property rights, and supervise client licensing and enforcement programs.
Negotiate Individual Athlete Agreements
We help individual athletes with their off-the-field activities, such as endorsements, including shoe and apparel endorsements, investments in ancillary businesses, and charitable initiatives, and we negotiate and structure acting, producing, podcasting, broadcasting, public appearance, speaking engagement and other agreements. We have also assisted soccer players with transfer agreements.
Structure Television and Other Media Distribution Deals
We negotiate and implement media arrangements for both traditional and new media platforms – including live-streaming and on-demand. We help clients structure content acquisition, distribution, development, production and other critical agreements.
Review and Clear Programming
We vet sports entertainment and commercial programming for producers, distributors, writers, agencies, and brands, and we recommend edits that help reduce the risk of infringement and other legal liability.
Advance “Cause” Marketing Initiatives
We advise our sports industry clients on ways to create marketing campaigns that support charitable causes – burnishing their brand image while boosting sales.
Negotiate Employment Contracts
Our attorneys use their relationships and knowledge of industry customs to negotiate and structure competitive employment contracts for executives, athletes, and other sports industry professionals. And we help brands, agencies, and producers follow certain labor rules and contracts (such as those of SAG-AFTRA).
Working with our Litigation Group, our Sports Group resolves intellectual property, licensing, media, and other sports industry disputes.
Preserve and Manage Wealth
Our Estate Planning and Charitable Organisations Groups can help individual sports industry clients set up tax-efficient estate plans and meet their philanthropic goals.
Our long-term experience in the media, entertainment, and advertising industries benefits sports clients and brands seeking to exploit entertainment, sponsorship, merchandising, and other ancillary revenue opportunities. We understand the sensibilities of celebrities and high-end talent, and we work collaboratively with other athlete representatives, such as wealth managers, agencies, and management companies. We are well-known in the industry – regularly speaking at leading sports and entertainment law conferences and quoted in leading publications, such as Sports Business Journal, The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Today, and The Associated Press, on various sports law issues. Our deep bench of lawyers with intimate industry experience enables us to service a high volume of work in various areas – making us valuable to all sports industry constituents.
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