Irwin Raij

Partner

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As Sports Industry Group Co-Chair, 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.

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Honors & Awards

  • Recognized as a “Dealmaker” in Variety’s Dealmakers Elite: New York (2017-2018)
  • Recognized nationally for sports law in the 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 editions of Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business
  • Selected as part of Sports Business Journal’s “Power Players: Sports Lawyers & Outside Counsel” 2016 list
  • Recognized by The Legal 500 for work in sports law in 2010, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018; recommended by The Legal 500 for work in media and entertainment law in 2018
  • Recognized by Who’s Who Legal: Sports and Entertainment in 2015 and 2018
  • 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 

Admissions

Bar Admissions 

  • District of Columbia
  • Florida
  • New York

Education

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

Professional Activities

Speaker

  • 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)

Author

Member 

  • 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.
  • 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 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.
  • Advising 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 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.

Media

  • 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.
  • Assisting the Kansas City Royals with the negotiation of a media rights deal with Fox.
  • 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.

Events

Press Releases

Alerts and Publications

In the News

Variety: Eastern Players Shape Showbiz

September 25, 2018

Global Banking & Finance Review: O’Melveny Represents Combate Americas in Multiyear Rights Deal with DAZN

September 18, 2018

SportsBusiness Journal: Relevent, La Liga Partner To Bring Regular-Season Matches To U.S.

August 16, 2018

Law360: La Liga, Relevent Sports Announce US Soccer Joint Venture

August 16, 2018

Multiple Outlets: LaLiga Will Increase Presence in North America, Bring Regular-Season Matches to US

August 16, 2018

SportsBusiness Journal: Shifting Path For Right of Publicity

August 13, 2018

The American Lawyer: O’Melveny Partner Cited for Advising Investor in MLS Franchise Stake

August 7, 2018

Fantini’s Public Policy Review: Sports Gambling: Federalism and Potential Federal Legislation

August 6, 2018

Multiple News Outlets Cover O’Melveny’s Role in Largest Team Purchase in NFL History

May 17, 2018

O’Melveny Lawyers Discuss US Supreme Court Ruling on Sports Betting with Media Outlets

May 16, 2018

New York Law Journal Profiles Raij, “Sports Deal Vet” Turned Team Owner

May 10, 2018