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Book Review: Negotiating and Drafting Sports Venue Agreements

It is possible to include the profession of sports agent within a broader category of Sports Law professions, but Sports Law has the potential to incorporate a multitude of legal disciplines, including Contract Law, Intellectual Property Law, and the art of negotiation (which certainly plays a key role in every lawyer’s practice).  Those three areas interact nicely in the Negotiating and Drafting of Sports Venue Agreements, which is the title of a recent book written by Harvard Law Professor Peter Carfagna.

While the book might be one of the more expensive books you purchase, in my opinion, it is worth every penny.  Be warned, that Carfagna uses quite a bit of legal jargon, and while he does an excellent job of explaining a lot of the legal concepts in the beginning of the book, it is probably best suited for someone who has at least taken an introductory class on contracts and/or intellectual property.

The title may be a little misleading.   Negotiating and Drafting of Sports Venue Agreements is not only about drafting and negotiating of stadium lease agreements (although an entire chapter is dedicated to that specific topic), it also includes detailed discussions about naming rights agreements, presenting sponsorship agreements, media rights and concessions agreements, hospitality and health food agreements, and agreements with state-operated entities.  With each type of agreement, Carfagna gives his take of what the team values, what the other negotiating party wants, and what each party is likely to concede in order to reach a reasonable agreement.  Further, Carfagna includes exhibits at the end of the book, which give the reader a good idea of what a reasonable agreement may look like (while including that these are only templates and should certainly be altered on a case-by-case basis).

For Sports Law nerds like me, this book is a must in a series of books created by Carfagna.  Even if you are never involved in the negotiation or drafting of a sports venue agreement, many of the provisions discussed at length in the book are applicable in other types of agreements.  Reviewing those concepts in the contexts of sports venue agreements makes is certainly more preferable than most alternatives.

Carfagna’s last book, which is an absolute must read for Sports Law enthusiasts with an interest in the sports agent profession, is Representing the Professional Athlete.  I will likely be making that book required reading for a brand new class in Sport Agency Management that I will be teaching at Indiana University Bloomington in the Fall.  If I teach a more general Sports Law class in the future, I will be sure to incorporate Negotiating and Drafting of Sports Venue Agreements into the curriculum, as well.

By Darren Heitner

Darren Heitner created Sports Agent Blog as a New Year's Resolution on December 31, 2005. Originally titled, "I Want To Be A Sports Agent," the website was founded with the intention of causing Heitner to learn more about the profession that he wanted to join, meet reputable individuals in the space and force himself to stay on top of the latest news and trends.

Heitner now runs Heitner Legal, P.L.L.C., which is a law firm with many practice areas, including sports law and contract law. Heitner has represented numerous athletes and sports agents as legal counsel. He has also served as an Adjunct Professor at Indiana University Bloomington from 2011-2014, where he created and taught a course titled, Sport Agency Management, which included subjects ranging from NCAA regulations to athlete agent certification and the rules governing the profession. Heitner serves as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Florida Levin College of Law, where he teaches a Sports Law class that includes case law surrounding athlete agents and the NCAA rules.