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Expertise / Sectors / Sports

Blakes has one of the top sports law practices in Canada. We have advised on a broad range of transactions in the sports industry, including league and special event structuring, expansions, mergers and acquisitions, negotiations and disputes, governance matters, and corporate financing. Our lawyers are at the forefront of sports trends and regulations and have a thorough understanding of the unique and evolving challenges faced by industry participants.

Our lawyers regularly advise most of the major professional sports leagues that are active in North America. We also advise amateur sports leagues, sports teams, organizing committees and other participants in the sports industry. Working with a cross-disciplinary team across all offices and practices, we advise clients on a range of matters, including construction and financing of sports venues, brand management, broadcast regulations, corporate and commercial transactions, cross-border employment matters, marketing and advertising, pensions and employee benefits, withholding tax, sales and transaction taxes, partnership taxation, other domestic and international tax matters, anti-doping, and sponsorship and image rights.

As technology plays a growing role in the sports industry, we have also advised recently on cybersecurity and data protection, online betting, smart technologies on the field and in equipment, payment platforms (such as mobile wallets and payment apps) and streaming games online, all of which are examples of the move towards a more high-tech sports culture.

Our sports law group is also committed to delivering pro bono legal services to charities and other organizations in the sports industry, including Right to Play International and Special Olympics Canada.

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Recent Experience

Mergers & Acquisitions

  • Bell and Rogers Communications Inc. on their acquisition of a net 75 per cent ownership position in Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, which owns the Toronto Maple Leafs NHL hockey franchise, Toronto Raptors NBA basketball franchise and Toronto FC MLS soccer team.

  • Sagard Holdings and Fairfax Financial on their US$575-million acquisition of the business of Performance Sports Group Ltd.

  • KPS Capital Partners, LP in connection with its acquisition of TaylorMade, Adams Golf and Ashworth golf brands from Adidas AG

  • The Stars Group Inc. in connection with its C$6-billion acquisition of Sky Betting & Gaming from CVC Capital Partners and Sky plc and related C$8-billion in financings and refinancings that created the world's largest publicly listed online-gaming company

Disputes

  • Successful defendants in the lengthy trial concerning ownership of the Vancouver Canucks NHL hockey team and arena

  • The Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic Games in defending multiple business-loss claims

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