Irwin Raij


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As Co-Head of O'Melveny's Entertainment, Sports and Media Industry Group, Irwin P. Raij has extensive experience advising clients on a wide range of sports business issues, on both the professional and the collegiate levels. He has represented owners and acquirers of professional sports teams, leagues, universities, and state governments. His experience includes matters related to MLB, MiLB, MLS, NBA, NHL, NFL, and EPL, along with major colleges and universities. Irwin also is an owner of the Oklahoma City Dodgers (MiLB), and the MLS Los Angeles Football Club (LAFC).

Irwin has handled new stadium development projects, project program and development counseling, financing, construction, license/lease agreements, management agreements, concessions, merchandising, ancillary development, licensing arrangements, promotional and advertising agreements (including naming rights), sports technology counseling/ventures, ticketing arrangements, stadium service agreements, RSN formation, and television, radio and media rights agreements. A consensus builder, Irwin also has experience successfully negotiating complex public-private partnerships.


Honors & Awards

  • Recognized as one of The American Lawyer’s “Dealmakers of the Year” (2019)
  • Selected as a Sports MVP by Law360 (2018)
  • Recognized as a “Dealmaker” in Variety’s Dealmakers Elite: New York (2017-2018)
  • Recognized nationally for sports law in the 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021 editions of Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business
  • Selected as part of Sports Business Journal’s “Power Players: Sports Lawyers & Outside Counsel” list (2016, 2021)
  • Recognized by The Legal 500 US for work in sports law (2010, 2014-2021) and for work in media and entertainment law (2018)
  • Recognized by Who’s Who Legal: Sports and Entertainment in 2015 and 2018-2019
  • Named to the 2011 Sports Business Journal Daily 40 Under 40 list 
  • Selected for inclusion in the 2013 Washington, DC Super Lawyers® list for work in entertainment & sports 
  • Recognized by the South Florida Daily Business Review as the 2012 Top Dealmaker of the Year in the Corporate Domestic category 
  • Recognized by the Washingtonian’s list of Washington’s Top Lawyers in 2011 and 2013 
  • Named a 2009 Young Guns Top Washington Lawyer by the Washington Business Journal 
  • Named the 2008 Young Alumnus of the Year by the Washington University School of Law 
  • Highlighted by Washington Lawyer magazine for his work on the Washington Nationals deal in the cover story of its November issue in 2007 
  • Recipient of the 2004 American Marshall Memorial Fellowship 
  • Named a 2003 finalist by the South Florida Business Journal as an “Up and Comer” in South Florida’s legal community 
  • Selected as a 2001 recipient of the “Spotlight of Achievers” award from the Latin Auxiliary of the Jewish Home of Miami 


Bar Admissions 

  • District of Columbia
  • Florida
  • New York


  • Washington University, J.D.
  • University of Miami, B.B.A.

Professional Activities


  • Panelist, “Leading Global Sports Attorney Explains Everything You Wanted to Know on Buying a Professional Sports Team,” Family Office Association (October 19, 2020)
  • Speaker, Virtual Panel, “Controlling Acquisitions, Minority Interest Investments, and Divestitures of Professional Sports Teams and Venues,” Sports Lawyers Association (July 1, 2020)
  • Moderator, “Stadium and Event Financing,” Sports Lawyers Association (May 16-18, 2019)
  • Speaker, “The Role of Lawyers in Professional Sports Franchise Acquisitions,” Harvard Law School (October 11, 2018)
  • Panelist, “Innovations in Stadium Development,” Miami University of Law Global Entertainment & Sport Conference (April 5, 2018)
  • Panelist, “Arenas/Expansions,” Sports Law Symposium, Harvard Law School (February 26, 2018)
  • Professor “Purchase and Sale of a Minor League Baseball Team,” Miami Law School (February 23, 2018)
  • Panelist, “New Opportunities in Public Financing – Best Thinking About How and Where Stadium Meets Public Infrastructure Financing,” RCLCO & Populous Workshop (February 12, 2018) 
  • Speaker, “Team Valuation,” Lagardère Esports Rising, Sports Business Journal, Marina del Rey (November 9, 2017)
  • Speaker, “Collegiate Athletics,” Sports Business Summit, The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania (November 3, 2017)
  • Panelist, “Legal Aspects of Major Sports Venue Management,” Sports Lawyers Association Conference (May 19, 2017)
  • Speaker and Panelist at numerous universities, including UCLA, University of Miami, Marquette University, University of Pennsylvania, University of Maryland, Notre Dame, Cal-Berkeley, Duke University, and St. John’s University, among others
  • Corporate Ticket Impact Conference (CTIC)


  • “Super Bowl LIII: All Bets Are On,” (January 29, 2019)
  • “Murphy v. NCAA: How Legalized Sports Betting Could Affect Athletes’ Publicity Rights,” The Licensing Journal (January 15, 2019)
  • “Legalized sports gambling: Anti-money laundering compliance,” Westlaw Journal Bank & Lender Liability, co-authored with Nicole Argentieri, Steve Olson, Eric Sibbitt, Jeremy Maltby, Laurel Loomis Rimon, and Marjorie B. Truwit (October 29, 2018) 
  • Public Development for Professional Sports Stadiums,” Oxford Handbooks Online, co-authored with Alex Chester (September 19, 2017)
  • “Legalized Sports Gambling: Revenue Opportunities Following Murphy,” O’Melveny & Myers LLP Client Alert, co-authored with Jared Bartie, Alex Chester, and Marjorie B. Truwit (August 13, 2018) 
  • “Sports Gambling: Federalism and Potential Federal Legislation,” O’Melveny & Myers LLP Client Alert, co-authored with Marjorie B. Truwit (June 25, 2018) 
  • “Supreme Court Overturns Third Circuit, Holding Federal Prohibition on Legalization of Sports Gambling is Unconstitutional,” O’Melveny & Myers LLP Client Alert, co-authored with Charles Baker and Jared Bartie (May 15, 2018) 
  • LA Can Learn Lesson From Rams PSL Ruling,” SportsBusiness Journal, co-authored with Alex Chester (January 9, 2017)
  • Understanding Objectives Can Reveal True Value Of College Rights,” SportsBusiness Journal, (October 27, 2014)
  • How Responsibility For Ancillary Development Has Shifted,” SportsBusiness Journal, (September 23, 2013)
  • How ADA Compliance Affects a Venue’s Capital Improvement Plan,” SportsBusiness Journal, co-authored with Erick Harris (May 21, 2012)
  • How A Stadium, Surrounding Area Can Boost A Team’s Revenue,” SportsBusiness Journal, co-authored with Erick Harris (June 6, 2011)
  • Multiple articles on topics such as facility development, ADA, ancillary development and stadiums, the business of college athletics, and media


  • National Board of Directors for the Development Corporation for Israel
  • Board of Advisors for the University of Miami School of Law’s Graduate Program in Entertainment, Arts and Sports Law
  • Former Board of Directors of the Washington DC Jewish Community Center and the Greater Washington Jewish Federation (2013 and 2014)
  • Former member of the Jewish Federation of North America’s National Young Leadership Cabinet and the Israel Bonds New Leadership Board
  • Former member of the National Alumni Association Board of the University of Miami, and member of Iron Arrow
  • Former member of the Board of Directors of Amigos for Kids®, a Florida nonprofit

Mergers & Acquisitions

  • Represented David Tepper, founder and president of global hedge fund Appaloosa Management, in his US$2.275 billion acquisition of the NFL Carolina Panthers, the largest transaction for an NFL team to date.
  • Represented David Tepper and Tepper Sports and Entertainment in their acquisition of Major League Soccer’s 30th expansion team for the City of Charlotte, NC.
  • Represented The Friedkin Group, Inc. in its acquisition of a controlling stake in the professional Italian Serie A football club AS Roma
  • Represented Dignitas, a Harris Blitzer Sports and Entertainment controlled entity (owner of the New Jersey Devils and the Philadelphia 76ers), in forming esports company Mal Pais Entertainment Inc., a joint venture between HBSE, the Houston Rockets and a number of third-party minority investors. In the transaction, the Rockets contributed to Mal Pais CC eSports, LLC, owner of the “Clutch Gaming” League of Legends franchise, and HBSE contributed Dignitas Esports LLC, an esports company with holdings of six esports franchises.
  • Advising Phoenix Rising Football Club in connection with its bid for an MLS expansion team for the city and related new stadium construction.
  • Advising Palace Entertainment in connection with its bid for an MLS expansion team for Detroit.
  • Represented Albert Friedberg in connection with the acquisition of a minority interest in Orlando City SC.
  • Led the team that represented Guggenheim Baseball Management (headed by Mark Walter, Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Stan Kasten and Peter Guber, among others) in the acquisition of the Los Angeles Dodgers, the single largest transaction ever for a professional sports franchise to date.
  • Represented Rangers Baseball Express (the investment group led by Chuck Greenberg and Nolan Ryan) in its acquisition of the Texas Rangers.
  • Represented former Milwaukee Bucks President and Owner Herbert Kohl in the $550 million sale of the basketball franchise to New York investment firm executives Marc Lasry and Wesley Edens.
  • Represented the Washington Tennis & Education Foundation in negotiations for its new management agreement and related sale option of the Citi Open with Washington, D.C.-based venture capitalist and entrepreneur Mark Ein.
  • Represented multiple entities seeking to acquire both minority and majority interests in Major League Soccer (MLS) franchises.
  • Represented client in acquiring an e-sports team.
  • Multiple additional representations of individuals seeking minority or majority interests in professional teams in various leagues.

Stadiums and Related Development

  • Providing advice and counsel to the City of Portland’s local business community in connection with bringing an MLB franchise to the city, including a proposed acquisition and related stadium and several million square feet of ancillary development.
  • Representing the State of Hawaii’s Aloha Stadium facility with site analysis to facilitate planning possible new stadium and ancillary development.
  • Representing Syracuse University on sports facility development matters, including stadium finance and project management.
  • Representing Hillsborough County in its ongoing efforts to build a new ballpark for the Tampa Bay Rays.
  • Representing multiple state governments regarding stadium development and financing matters related to stadiums for minor league baseball teams.
  • Advised IMG regarding an agreement with the Miami Dolphins to relocate the Miami Tennis Open to Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens.
  • Represented the West Villages Improvement District with respect to the development of a spring training facility for the Atlanta Braves in Sarasota, Florida.
  • Represented the City of Atlanta and Fulton County Recreation Authority regarding an arena operating agreement and non-relocation agreement in connection with the US$190 million State Farm Arena (formerly Philips Arena) renovation, home to the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks.
  • Represented Major League Baseball (MLB) in its successful efforts to relocate the Montreal Expos, now the Washington Nationals, to Washington, DC; and separately in all matters related to the construction of the new, more than $600 million ballpark for the team.
  • Represented MLB in its successful efforts to facilitate the negotiation and approval of a new stadium for the Miami Marlins.
  • Appointed by MLB Commissioner Bud Selig to serve on a three person committee to determine feasibility of developing a new stadium for the Oakland A’s in Northern California.
  • Assisted with matters related to development of the Milwaukee Bucks’ new arena and ancillary development.
  • Counseled New York State in support of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s efforts to keep the Buffalo Bills in Buffalo, including the assessment of a new building and successfully negotiating a lease extension and non-relocation agreement in 2013.
  • Represented the Orlando City Soccer Club with respect to stadium agreements for original site. 
  • Served as member of the Sacramento First Task Force, which assisted the City with evaluating options for the new Sacramento Kings arena.
  • Represented University of Miami on its basketball arena naming rights deal with Watsco.
  • Represented EB-5 provider related to possible financing for new soccer-specific stadium for DC United.


  • Advised the Kansas City Royals on a new multi-year media rights agreement with Sinclair Broadcast Group for FOX Sports Kansas City to continue as the television home of the Royals.
  • Represented Combate Americas in connection with a multiyear media rights deal with DAZN, the live-streaming service of Perform Group, in which DAZN will be the exclusive provider of Combate Americas’ English language broadcasts in the United States and Canada.
  • Represented LaLiga, the Spanish soccer league, in its joint venture with Relevent Sports to commercialize its media, sponsorship, and licensing rights in North America.
  • Representing Combate Americas, the first US Hispanic Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) sports franchise, in multiple domestic and international media deals.
  • Represented Guggenheim Baseball Management (the ownership group for the Los Angeles Dodgers) in the formation of American Media Productions, LLC (AMP) which launched SportsNet LA and the related media agreement between the Dodgers and AMP to air Dodger games.
  • Represented University of Oregon for its $57 million multimedia rights deal with IMG College.
  • Represented Syracuse University in negotiation with IMG College for its multi-media license agreement.
  • Represented Combate Americas in its agreement with the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) to air events on UFC Fight Pass, UFC’s over-the-top (OTT) digital streaming service.

Press Releases

Alerts and Publications

In the News

The Buffalo News: State’s Bills study explores more options: site near downtown, renovated Highmark Stadium

October 7, 2021

The Recorder: Who Got the Work? O’Melveny Professional Women’s Soccer Team in Negotiations for New Facility

October 1, 2021

Spectrum News Syracuse (Central New York): Sports Consultant on Where Things Stand Now on Bills Stadium Negotiations

September 30, 2021

Buffalo Business First: Pegulas (and the public) Await Results of State-Ordered Bills Stadium Study

September 30, 2021

The Buffalo News: State Contracts with Two Firms for Bills Stadium Negotiations

September 29, 2021

New York Law Journal: Alexis Cirel Joins Warshaw Burstein as Partner in Firm’s New Fertility Law Group

February 25, 2021

Bloomberg Law: O’Melveny Announces New Leaders, Including Litigation, Corporate

February 11, 2021

The American Lawyer O’Melveny Expands Leadership Ranks, Naming Another Vice Chair and Group Co-Chairs

February 11, 2021

Sports Business Journal: The Road Ahead - O’Melveny’s Chuck Baker and Irwin Raij

September 4, 2020

Thomson Reuters’ Westlaw Today: Q&A - O’Melveny’s Irwin Raij on the race for sports deal work in the COVID-19 era

August 27, 2020

Sports Business Journal Newsletter: Speed Reads

August 25, 2020

SportBusiness: Royals Strike Renewal of Local Rights Deal with Sinclair

August 25, 2020

Global Legal Chronicle: The Friedkin Group’s Controlling Stake Acquisition Of AS Roma Football Club

August 19, 2020 Friedkin Group Scores AS Roma Acquisition

August 18, 2020

Sports Illustrated’s “John Wall Street”: Jets, Others Concerned About Defaulting on PSLs Agreements in a ‘Reduced Fan’ Scenario

June 1, 2020

The New York Times: Why Major Sports Might Risk Comebacks During the Pandemic

May 31, 2020

Charlotte Business Journal: Venue Changes Needed for Return of Sports?

April 27, 2020

Sports Business Journal Daily: Venues May Need Renovations To Adhere To Social Distancing Rules

April 27, 2020