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The Rise of Stadium & Arena Naming Rights Deals in US Sports

Naming rights are not just for major leagues – now universities, training facilities, minor leagues, and even non-sports properties are considering selling these rights.
In a podcast with LawinSport, hosted by Sean Cottrell, Sports practice group leader and San Francisco Managing Partner Richard Brand answers questions about his path into sports law and working on these major transactions.

Discussing current trends in stadium and arena naming rights, Rich told LawinSport that the deals are both more complex and more innovative than ever as they work to drive business for all parties. "People are getting smarter in the way they do a deal and the way they activate a deal," he said. "The dealmakers are understanding how important it is that the money a sponsor pays is impactful on their business and their clients."

Naming rights deals have also expanded beyond sports, with non-sports properties coming into play in major transactions. In the podcast, Rich talks about the parallels between his sports and real estate practices in this area and shares insights from his work on non-sports naming rights.

The podcast also covers:
  • Where and when should lawyers be involved in the process of putting together a naming rights deal?
  • What are common legal issues that arise in stadium and arena naming rights deals?
  • What are common problems of working on stadium and arena naming rights deal?
  • Is there a difference to naming rights deals for NCAA stadiums and arenas compared to the Major Leagues?
  • What is the future of naming rights deals?
Over the past few months, Rich has advised clients on a series of back-to-back naming rights and sponsorship transactions, including deals for the NBA's Los Angeles Lakers, counseling the team on a naming rights and health provider rights deal with UCLA Health; the NFL's Miami Dolphins in an 18-year stadium naming rights agreement with Hard Rock International; and Inova Health System in a multi-year naming rights and sponsorship transaction with the NFL’s Washington Redskins. He also served as counsel to Mercedes-Benz on their naming rights and sponsorship transaction with the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons and Major League Soccer's Atlanta United FC for Atlanta’s new stadium, advised Golden 1 Credit Union in their historic naming rights partnership agreement with the NBA’s Sacramento Kings, and advised the San Francisco 49ers in a naming rights and sponsorship transaction with Levi Strauss & Co.

Arent Fox and Rich have been industry leaders in naming rights stretching back to 2007, when the firm advised Brooklyn Arena, LLC and the then-New Jersey Nets in connection with the Barclays Center naming rights transaction, the largest deal of its kind in the history of sports and entertainment at the time.

To listen to the podcast via LawInSport, click here. The podcast is available on iTunes and Soundcloud.


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