Jan 23, 2024

Sports law pertains to the legal needs of sports leagues, athletic organizations, and many other professional sports-related institutions throughout the country. A Los Angeles, California sports lawyer, such as the attorneys at Bober, Peterson & Koby, LLP, focuses on sports law, which can relate to athletes on every level of competition. Legal issues in youth leagues, professional leagues, and even Olympic athletics all have the potential to ripple throughout the entire sports industry.

What makes sports law different from other forms of law is how it can draw on those other legal areas if needed. An athlete’s injury claim could fall under several different categories, like contract law or workers’ compensation. Sports law requires a vast understanding of many different types of law, including state and federal legislation. It may even involve international treaties in some cases.

Who Needs a Sports Attorney?

While any California attorney will know the law, sports negotiations aren’t exactly the same as a business. The complications of contracts and adherence to sports regulatory bodies make this legal practice very focused.

A few reasons you might need a sports attorney include:

  • Contract disputes
  • Misappropriation of name, likeness, or image
  • Accusations of anti-doping
  • SafeSport violations
  • Team selection dispute

While these are some of the most common reasons for a sports attorney, this area of law is vast. If you aren’t sure you need an attorney, contact our firm. It’s never wise to wait until you need one to call one.

How Is Sports Law Different from Other Practices?

Sports law’s significance comes from its connection to many other types of law, as sports deal with many different, unique situations. It takes an experienced sports attorney to navigate these matters and provide the injured party with a skillful legal defense. Here are some of the different disciplines that sports law intersects with:

  • Contract law: Sports lawyers assist in drawing up athletes’ contracts, as well as negotiating and reviewing terms. This can include likeness and name rights for the athlete or the acquisition of sports organizations.
  • Intellectual property law: It is crucial in the sports industry to protect intellectual property. Sports lawyers take care of trademark infringement, copyright infringement, licensing agreements, and the handling of athletes’ names, images, and likenesses, or “NIL.” As the industry grows and social media becomes an increasingly larger entity to deal with, intellectual property rights are becoming a significant issue in sports law.
  • Labor law: Athletes are employees of the organizations that sign them or sponsor them. That makes them entitled to certain employment benefits. Sports lawyers can assist with this determination, particularly in the case of student-athletes and whether they are considered employees of the university that they are playing for.
  • Tax law: Sports attorneys may even assist with tax law and estate planning for people with a sports background, such as current or former athletes or team executives. Sports attorneys’ involvement could include reviewing real estate documents, consulting with investment opportunities, or consulting with startup companies.
  • Administrative law: Sports lawyers are constantly faced with administrative situations that directly affect the clients they represent. The sports industry has a great deal of nuanced and intricate legalities. Administrative law can extend to licensing processes for sports venues and working with state regulatory agencies to ensure that nobody is being taken advantage of. This can include sports betting, which is legal in 38 states but not California.

Sports lawyers assist their clients in developing a solid case in legal situations unique to athletes and athletic organizations. If a case cannot be settled out of court, it will require litigation. Sports litigation is particularly complex and requires the careful eye of a seasoned sports attorney.


Q: What Is Sports Law, and Why Is It Significant?

A: Sports law assures that athletes are protected and compensated for their contributions to sport and culture. That protection can include sports contracts, discrimination suits, keeping employers in check, and workers’ compensation. Athletes are employees, too, and they deserve proper compensation if they are injured during a game or a practice.

Q: What Are the Principles of Sports Law?

A: The principles of sports law draw on the principles of many other legal disciplines, such as contract law, intellectual property law, labor law, tax law, administrative law, and others. The basic tenets of sports law remain the same, and the ultimate goal is still to provide the client with top-quality legal representation.

Q: What Is the Difference Between A Sports Agent And A Sports Lawyer?

A: The work of a sports agent largely involves taking care of one’s clients 24/7 by booking hotels, managing public relations, booking TV and radio appearances, and managing their clients’ day-to-day lives. Agents recruit new clients and keep their current clients happy. Sports lawyers handle legal issues involving sports and often work for larger entities, like law firms, leagues, and player unions.

Lawyers’ responsibilities to their clients could include representing their clients in media deals, advising in the purchasing/selling of a team, negotiating player contracts, and drafting contracts, among many other things.

Q: What Is a Legal Issue In Sports?

A: Legal issues in sports can mean a great many things. Since sports law is largely all-encompassing, it intersects with many different disciplines of law. Some legal issues that arise in sports include contract negotiations between players and teams looking to sign them, as well as negotiating collective bargaining agreements between players’ unions and team owners.

The attorneys at Bober, Peterson & Koby, LLP, have aided in the crafting of collective bargaining agreement language for professional sports leagues in the past.

Find the Sports Attorney Who’s Right for You

Sports law is a complex, multi-categorical discipline of law. It brings together many different disciplines to address the needs of those involved in sports, from athletes to player unions to team owners.

The team at Bober, Peterson & Koby, LLP, is dedicated to providing total coverage for sports organizations. We offer reliable, total legal advice in the realm of sports law. We have provided critical support for professional sports leagues, individual clubs, and athletes in need of legal representation. Contact Bober, Peterson & Koby, LLP, today to schedule a consultation or learn more about what we can do for you and your sports organization.

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