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Law360: MVP - O’Melveny’s Chuck BakerOctober 16, 2020
O’Melveny Sports Industry Group co-chair Chuck Baker has been named a 2020 Sports & Betting MVP by Law360. In this feature, Baker discussed his high-profile 2020 accomplishments, the growing popularity of soccer in the US, the challenge of launching a women’s sports league in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, and his career trajectory.
Baker recently represented hedge fund billionaire David Tepper in his acquisition of Major League Soccer’s (MLS) 30th expansion team for Charlotte, NC. Additionally, working with a prominent ownership group whose leadership includes actress Natalie Portman, Baker secured its exclusive right to establish a National Women’s Soccer League Team in Los Angeles. Baker also facilitated purchases of stakes in two MLS teams for Quibi CEO Meg Whitman and Brooklyn Nets player Kevin Durant, respectively.
“Getting these deals done was an accomplishment I’m very proud of, and I think it will be terrific for professional soccer and its continued growth as it attracts more fans and savvy investors,” said Baker. “The success of the women’s team has been so incredible that I really think it’s led a lot of people here in the U.S. to embrace soccer. [T]here’s a lot of hope and expectation that there will be a significant increase in media rights fees that leads to a lot of value created for individuals investing in soccer right now.”
The profile also notes that Baker served an integral role in the development of innovative sports league Athletes Unlimited, which launched in Chicago this summer. Athletes Unlimited was founded by investor Jonathan Soros and former Tribeca Enterprises President and COO John Patricof. Its initial softball series was televised on ESPN.
“It took a lot of work to make sure this went off without a hitch in the midst of COVID, but it’s a very unique model and was a lot of fun to be part of,” said Baker. “It’s almost like a constant All-Star Game, and I think it points to the increasing interest in women’s sports in general going forward.”
Law360 subscribers can read the full article here.