Sports and Entertainment Litigation Practice Brochure

Our litigation team is comprised of trial lawyers successfully advocating for our clients in the courtroom, as well as lawyers skilled at managing complicated cases. Among our over 600 business litigators across the Firm, our litigation team includes full-time, dedicated sports and entertainment industry litigators who try (and win) jury trials, bench trials, arbitrations and administrative/regulatory proceedings in all manner of complex business disputes around the globe and who regularly advise clients with respect to reputation management and crisis management and prevention issues.

We regularly handle sports and entertainment industry class action litigation; high profile depositions of presidents, GMs, owners and former players of professional sports clubs; arbitrations of ownership disputes and executive disputes and player arbitrations; anti-doping disputes; Olympic movement-related litigation; Safe Sport disputes; contractual and other commercial disputes, including with respect to recovery of unpaid sponsorship, suite license and other fees; defamation matters; privacy matters (including specific privacy advice, as well as intervention both pre-publication and post publication, while also acting on data related issues, reputation management and protection for corporate organizations in this sector); internal investigation matters; player injury insurance claims; enforcement of terms of financing related to international football (soccer) club player transfers; third party rights in international football (soccer) club players; planning permission appeals; and various communications matters, including phone hacking, social media management and player anonymity matters. We have extensive experience in advising and/or appearing before Commissioners of professional sports leagues, major regulatory bodies such as FIFA and The Premier League and numerous international tribunals, including Rule K arbitrations (contractual disputes and regulatory requirements under the Football Association’s regulations), CAS arbitrations, FIFA hearings and High Court disputes in England and Wales, among others.

We have an international reputation for dealing with some of the most significant sports related regulatory issues and a strong record of resolving disputes through dispositive motion practice, mediation and other pre-trial strategies. And since litigators often are a key resource for avoiding actual lawsuits, we also counsel clients on how to resolve business issues without litigation. Our experience, combined with the use of cutting-edge technology and an understanding of large-scale data, translate to favorable, cost-effective, speedy results for our clients.

Our Sports and Entertainment Litigation team includes full-time, dedicated sports and entertainment industry litigators with significant handling of all types of sports and entertainment litigation matters. For additional information, please contact our team leaders:

Ryan Davis: 314-259-2818 or 

Rob Ebert: 314-259-2633 or 

Chris Schmidt: 314-259-2616 or 

Graham Shear: +44 (0) 20 3400 4191 or 

Steve Smith: 719-381-8457 or 

Rich Young: 719-381-8431 or


  • Recognized by Chambers as having one of the leading sports practices in both the United States and the United Kingdom.
  • Russia Law Firm of the Year (Chambers Europe 2015 and shortlisted for 2016)
  • Recognized by Legal 500 United Kingdom as a leading law firm in Sport
  • International Law Firm of the Year (The Lawyer European Awards 2014 and shortlisted in 2015)
  • Best Law Firm in Russia (International Law Offce Client Choice Awards 2010)
  • UK Law Firm of the Year (British Legal Awards 2010)
  • UK Law Firm of the Year (The Lawyer Awards 2010)
  • UK Law Firm of the Year (Chambers Europe Awards for Excellence 2008)
  • UK Law Firm of the Year (Chambers Global Awards 2005)
  • UK Law Firm of the Year (The Lawyer Awards 2004)
  • Highest-ranked law firm for innovation (Legal Business survey of 9,000 clients, 2017)
  • Twice-ranked as the World’s Most Innovative Law Firm by the International Legal Technology Association
  • Recognized by BTI Consulting Group’s “Client List A-Team” (2017), an elite group of 30 law firms most recognized by clients for delivering the best levels of client service.

Representative Experience

Among others, the Bryan Cave Sports and Entertainment litigation team has handled the following representative matters:

  • Representing 30 National Hockey League clubs in connection with pending concussion matter
  • Representing the NCAA in connection with pending concussion matter
  • Represented the United States Anti-Doping Agency in its doping cases against Tour De France winners Lance Armstrong and Floyd Landis, Marion Jones and other gold medal winners involved in the BALCO doping scandal
  • Represented an NHL club in connection with an executive arbitration matter in front of NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman
  • Represent an NHL club in connection with various arbitration matters in front of NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman
  • Represented the St. Louis Blues in connection with various dispute resolution matters involving players, coaches, team executives, the NHL and other NHL teams (including former player Scott Stevens and former coach Mike Keenan, among others)
  • Represent four NHL clubs in connection with pending litigation matter
  • Represent two NHL clubs in connection with separate pending litigation matter
  • Represented AEG in a dispute arising out of the construction of the STAPLES Center
  • Successfully served as trial counsel in a $350 million contract damages dispute and a $100 million class action matter successfully decided in favor of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
  • Represented USA Basketball in connection with a discrimination suit filed against Geno Auriemma, USA Basketball and the NBA
  • Represented a variety of clients in disputes in the anti- doping area, including in connection with high profile cases for the World Anti-Doping Agency, the United States Anti- Doping Agency, the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority, the United States Olympic Committee, USA Swimming, the International Weightlifting Federation and other Olympic National Governing Bodies and International Federations
  • Tried dozens of cases before various types of arbitration panels involving doping, Olympic Team eligibility, sponsorship and other economic issues and disciplinary matters
  • Handled salary arbitrations for the St. Louis Cardinals throughout the 1980s and 1990s, including in the successful arbitrations with players such as Ozzie Smith, Vince Coleman and Todd Zeile as well as many cases in which the Cardinals prepared for arbitration but settled
  • Acted for Newcastle United FC in bringing an action against FIFA and the FA arising from Michael Owen’s injury while on international duty, which led to a change in insurance rules and regulations
  • Acted for Rio Football Services Hungary KFT in bringing a multi-million Euro claim in the High Court of London against Seville Football Club to enforce the terms of a financing agreement relating to a professional international football (soccer) player
  • Obtained summary judgment for USA Swimming and national team head coach in antitrust and trade libel action preceding Olympic trials and Beijing games
  • Represented Olympic athletes in dispute with equipment sponsor prior to Vancouver games
  • Represent the PGA in connection with private litigation matters
  • Represented the Continental Basketball Association with termination cases involving two former CBA franchises
  • Served as defense counsel to a Grammy Award winning, hip hop artist in a series of high profile copyright infringement lawsuits relating to the group’s international No. 1 hit songs
  • Represented Sephora USA in suit brought by Sophia Loren and the estate of Marilyn Monroe in claim for misappropriation of name and likeness
  • Defended trademark infringement action involving the Oscar in a claim brought by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences against world’s largest statuette manufacturer
  • Represented Specialized Bicycle Components in connection with numerous contract negotiations and disputes
  • Represented publisher of Blue & Gold Illustrated (regarding Notre Dame athletics) in defense of fraud and breach of contract action regarding purchase of online sports news entity
  • Represented various sports clients with sports- related disputes covering a broad spectrum of issues, from commercial disagreements to athlete eligibility contests to disputes arising during the course of contests to Section 9 proceedings under the Amateur Sports Act
  • Successfully defended a major sports agency in an arbitration in respect of a number of crucial issues, including the ownership of player image rights

We also have significant experience in serving as an arbitrator of sports industry disputes. One of the leaders of our team has served as an international sports arbitrator in connection with a variety of matters, including serving on numerous hearing panels for the International Tennis Federation, the Association of Tennis Professionals and the International Court of Arbitration for Sport, including the ad hoc Divisions of the International Court of Arbitration for Sport during the 1998 Olympic Winter Games in Nagano, Japan and the 2000 Summer Olympic Games in Sydney.