Guest contribution by: Jesse Feldman, Sports and Entertainment Law Society Executive Board Member
The first annual Nova Southeastern University Sports Law Symposium has come and gone and we have been hearing nothing but rave reviews from members of the Entertainment, Arts and Sports Law section of the Florida Bar (our partner in this CLE event), faculty and students. Our keynote speaker and recipient of our Excellence in Sports Award, Jason Rosenhaus, spoke of his law school experience and of how he and his brother (Drew Rosenhaus) were able to become what they are today. The best piece of advice he had for the attendees was to always put yourself into a position where opportunities will come to you. He emphasized networking, learning the current events in the industry, and never turning down a meeting or a dinner date because it may lead you to a potential client.
The first panel was truly a treat (The Growth of the Florida Sports Market). Attorney Alan Fertel spoke about why the fan base in South Florida is so fickle, explaining that Miami is a “big event” town. He then went on to list off events such as the Sony Ericsson Tennis Tournament, local playoff games and the various golf tournaments that manage to draw large crowds each year. Dave Hyde of the Sun-Sentinel explained that contrary to popular belief, reporters can’t stand covering losing teams and that good news actually sells better than bad news when it comes to sports (so much for if it bleeds, it leads). He also went on to tell the nearly 70 attendees that when anything new is introduced in the South Florida sports market, the first thing people want to do is tell you why it won’t work. Alan Fertel finished off the panel with this little nugget of advice: as an attorney in South Florida you won’t be able to survive off of just practicing sports and entertainment law, you’ll starve. He suggested that each student graduate just practice law, hone their skills, learn and embrace the law. However, he said that if you’ve been out practicing and a great opportunity presents itself, take it and run with it.
I could go into so much more detail regarding our intellectual property panel (Professional and Collegiate Sports Licensing), our ethics panel dealing with Ultimate Fighting Championship and its place in Florida, or our panel regarding what other money-making options there are if your client fails to be a top pick in their draft….but I won’t. I will say that the real fun came when the last panel of the day ended and our cocktail reception began; there truly is nothing better than rubbing elbows with industry attorneys and executives, former and current athletes, sports reporters, industry physicians and, of course, students from across the state. Make sure you don’t miss out on next year’s event!