A New York-headquartered law firm may not be the first entity one thinks of when hearing of a major sports franchise transaction, but that’s who was behind one side of last week’s sale of the Carolina Panthers. Proskauer Rose LLP‘s sports law practice represented the owner, Jerry Richardson, in the sale to David Tepper. The $2.2 billion cash deal for the North Carolina team was approved yesterday by National Football League (NFL) owners and is expected to close this summer.
Proskauer has represented the Panthers since 2010 and advised the team in connection with the renovations to Bank of America Stadium. The Panthers franchise was valued at $2.3 billion, which ranked 21st among the NFL’s 32 teams, in Forbes’ annual valuation list, last published in September. Tepper, a hedge fund manager, has owned 5% stake of the Pittsburgh Steelers since 2009 and, should the deal be approved, he will have to sell that investment.
Richardson was a founder of the franchise but had been pressured to sell the team after allegations of workplace misconduct were made public in 2017.
The Proskauer team was led by chairman and sports law group co-head Joe Leccese and sports law partner Frank Saviano and includes associates Jason Krochak, Jason Joffe and Benjamin Freeman (Corporate); partner Amanda Nussbaum and associate Bowon Koh (Tax); partner Mitchell Gaswirth, senior counsel Nathaniel Birdsall and associate Daniel Hatten (Private Client Services); partner Steven Weinstein and associates Justin Alex and Jennifer Rigterink (Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation); partner John Failla (Insurance Recovery & Counselling); special counsel Aliza Cinamon (Environmental); partner Daryn Grossman and associates Carlu Franceschini and Tiffany Quach (Intellectual Property); partner Howard Robbins (Labor & Employment); and senior counsel John Ingrassia (Antitrust).
Proskauer has advised on the acquisition and sale of numerous sports teams, including the recent $1.2 billion sale of the Miami Marlins and the $1.4 billion sale of the Buffalo Bills. The firm has also advised sports leagues in connection with many team ownership transfers, including the $2.2 billion sale of the Houston Rockets, the $2.15 billion sale of the Los Angeles Dodgers, and the $2 billion sale of the Los Angeles Clippers.