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Sports, Media & Entertainment

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The Aird & Berlis Sports, Media & Entertainment Group brings deep industry knowledge and expertise to a multifaceted and multi-jurisdictional practice. The members of our Group, who are prominent in their respective fields, possess a unique understanding of the interrelated issues in the sports, media and entertainment industries.

Whether you are negotiating a contract or sponsorship agreement, structuring a business transaction, protecting your intellectual property rights, navigating ever-changing regulations, managing the construction or day-to-day operation of sports & entertainment complexes, or requiring assistance with tax planning or the handling of a dispute, our Group has the experience you can rely on. We also draw on the expertise of other members of the firm across a variety of practice areas, including mergers and acquisitions, financing, tax, corporate/commercial, intellectual property, privacy, labour and employment and infrastructure.

Several members of our Group competed at the national level in various sports. We bring that same level of focus and discipline to providing counsel to athletes and organizations on a broad range of matters involving local, national and international professional sports organizations and high-profile sport and multi-sport events. We have experience dealing with the world’s major sports leagues, including the NHL, NBA, MLS, F1, FIFA and the English Premier League and Champions League. Our roster of clients includes owners of professional sports teams, sports associations and other organizations, executives, professional and amateur athletes and coaches, directors, multi-sport event organizers, funding partners and broadcasters. Our expertise encompasses governance issues under the Canadian and International Olympic Committee frameworks and the Pan American Sports Organization.

Members of our Group are also recognized as industry experts in media law, guiding clients through the regulatory framework governing digital streamers, broadcasters and cable/satellite distributors. We regularly advise clients on complex questions of territorial rights for global sports and entertainment content and the impact of Canada’s communications regulatory framework in the current environment of “over-the-top” streaming video services. We have broad experience working across all forms of communications technology, from traditional media to the current mosaic of digital, internet, social, multimedia and metaverse platforms.

We are also uniquely positioned to advise on entertainment law issues. The dynamic evolution of digital distribution networks and platforms poses challenges and opportunities for creators and distributors of media and entertainment content. Our team advises content producers and distributors, including musicians, artists, authors and film and television studios in Canada and internationally.

Our Sports, Media & Entertainment Group is at the forefront of legal representation and expertise in esports, an evolving industry positioned at the intersection of sport, media, entertainment, technology and creative content. We act on local, regional, national and international matters for professional gamers, teams, leagues, gaming organizations, investors and financing parties, underwriters and sponsors, governments and regulatory agencies, hardware and software companies, entertainment, promotion and advertising companies, media and broadcasters, and others. We appreciate the many connections that esports have with other areas of industry, including publishing, gambling, hospitality, event production, finance and entertainment.

Our familiarity with and passion for the sports, media and entertainment industries extends beyond the practice of law. Our members believe in giving back and are heavily involved with numerous non-profit industry associations, national and international federations, governing bodies and charitable organizations. Examples include the MLSE Foundation, Hockey Canada, the Greater Toronto Hockey League, Tennis Canada, the International Tennis Federation, the Ontario Hockey Federation, Alpine Ontario Alpin, the 13th Pan American Games and the David Foster Association. In addition, we have proudly provided financial and other non-legal support to high-performance athletes, national teams and international sporting organizations, including sponsoring athletes and teams in Olympic Games since 2006.