Law360: Sports Group of the Year: O’Melveny

February 21, 2019

Law360 has named O’Melveny’s sports team a 2018 “Practice Group of the Year.” O’Melveny handled numerous high-profile deals in 2018, including advising David Tepper on acquiring the Carolina Panthers, bringing an NHL team to Seattle, and representing LaLiga as it entered the US market.

Co-chairs Chuck Baker, Jared Bartie, and Irwin Raij lead the 11-lawyer sports group. 

“We believe the firm has deeply committed to our practice, and that’s exemplified by the fact they brought in three experienced lateral partners [Baker, Bartie, Raij] in the space,” said Raij.

The team represented Mr. Tepper on the Carolina Panthers purchase—the largest amount ever paid for a professional sports franchise. This deal was complex and succeeded with support from a cross-disciplinary O’Melveny team. 

“It was important that our client be protected, both from actions taken by the prior owners as well as new issues our client could inherit by virtue of owning this particular team,” Baker said. “We were able to rely on several experts in different fields, which enabled us to successfully advise our client on all necessary fronts.”

Looking ahead, the firm has formed a task force on sports gambling. Bartie believes O’Melveny is at the forefront of esports. 

“Given what we know of the space and the deals we’ve handled, some very well-heeled investors are turning to us to help them navigate this new ground,” said Bartie. “There’s a lot of blue sky, and a lot of opportunity that we’re helping to identify.”

Click here to access O’Melveny’s award profile.