The Legal Hurdles Facing A Potential Las Vegas NFL Team

By Doug Fuglsang. Mr. Fuglsang is a licensed attorney in Illinois and Wisconsin with a Sports Law Certificate from the National Sports Law Institute. He can be reached at doug.fuglsang@gmail.com.

The Raiders are staying in Oakland for the 2016 season after coming to terms on a one-year lease with the Oakland Alameda County Coliseum. The lease additionally contains two one-year options that could potentially keep the team in Oakland until the end of the 2018 NFL season, though in all likelihood the Raiders days in Oakland are numbered. It’s common knowledge that the Coliseum is figuratively, and in some instances literally a dump. Mark Davis is saying all the right things publicly about wanting to keep the Raiders in Oakland but an uncooperative government in a State strapped for cash; a feud with A’s owner Lew Wolff over development rights to a new Coliseum; and the high probability of getting some public assistance elsewhere; lead me to conclude the Raiders will be playing elsewhere in the near future.

Where they will be playing is a mystery after the Raiders were left standing without a chair when the music stopped in Los Angeles, but they still have several intriguing relocation options. Division rival San Diego Chargers have until January 15, 2017 to negotiate a deal to join the Rams in Los Angeles, which will likely have a major impact on where the Raiders end up. If Dean Spanos passes on Los Angeles or reaches an impasse with crotchety Stan Kroenke, there is a possibility the Raiders could end up in L.A. or even possibly join the Chargers in San Diego in a new their stadium. In November the voters of San Diego will get to decide if they want to fork over the public funds to keep the Chargers in San Diego, recent polls demonstrate an uphill battle, but Dean Spanos sounds like he would rather stay in San Diego. If they do stay, a potential venture with the Raiders on a joint stadium could reduce cost significantly. There is also a small possibility the Raiders stay in the “Bay Area” as the second tenant of Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, current home of the San Francisco 49ers. The NFL contributed $200 million to the construction of Levi’s Stadium on the condition that it was capable of supporting two franchises. However, it is highly unlikely this happens, USA Today published a good run down of the finances and obstacles to this scenario; even though it makes the most sense egos will likely prevent it. Finally, I’ve heard San Antonio mentioned, I, for one, don’t think perennial hawk Jerry Jones will EVER let this happen, so I’ll believe it when I see it.

There is, however, a potential wildcard in all this — Las Vegas.

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Recent Pennsylvania Superior Court Ruling On Waiver Forms Exposes Athletic Event Organizers To Increased Wrongful Death Liability

The following post by Steve Silver, Esq. originally appeared on the renowned Wake Forest Law School’s Journal of Business & Intellectual Property Law blog on February 29, 2016.

Between mud runs, charity 5Ks, obstacles course races, and marathons, there is no shortage of events today testing a weekend warrior’s fitness or, often, their pain tolerance.

These amateur athletic competitions are not just fun and games, though. They are also major revenue generators. For example, according to the Sports Business Daily, the obstacle course racing industry saw its revenues spike from about $16 million in 2009 to nearly $400 million by 2015. In addition, more than 18 million Americans competed in marathons in 2014.

However, even the most profitable athletic events such as CrossFit GamesTough Mudder competitions, or marathons represent substantial liability hazards for their organizers and insurers. This is why anyone who has ever participated in an event involving physical activity has likely encountered a general liability waiver form. Typically, a participant receives a piece of paper with a lot of fine print that they blindly sign minutes before the competition begins waiving all future legal claims for any injuries that may arise while crawling through a freezing mud pit with exposed electrical wires.

When injuries, or even fatalities occur, the waiver form is often the strongest defense for the event organizers.

Now, however, thanks to a recent decision by the Pennsylvania Superior Court, insuring an event in the Northeast just became a lot more costly.

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The Daily Fantasy Sports 1099 Tax Season Stampede

The following is posted with the permission of Legal Blitz friend Patrick Guinan, CPA. Mr Guinan is one of the nation’s leading experts on DFS tax implications and proper filing for DFS players. You can find him here.

As some of you may know, FanDuel and DraftKings are delayed in sending out their 1099-MISC Forms to participants in order to file their winnings to the IRS and other taxing authorities. This is delaying the proper filing of tax returns of folks who know this and could cause MAJOR headaches for those who have filed and may not know this. I’m not going to comment or speculate as to why it is happening, but I have a few tips for anyone impacted by the 1099 delays.

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U.S. Soccer’s New Player Safety Campaign Leaves Many Questions Unanswered

By Doug Fuglsang. Mr. Fuglsang is a licensed attorney in Illinois and Wisconsin with a Sports Law Certificate from the National Sports Law Institute. He can be reached at doug.fuglsang@gmail.com.

Is the U.S. Soccer Federation doing enough to protect players from concussions and shield itself from legal liability? (Photo by Kansas City Legal Examiner)

Starting January 1, 2016 U.S. Soccer Federation’s new rules banning headers for players 10 and under, while also limiting the amount of exposure to headers in practice for players between the ages of 11 and 13, went into effect — at least I think they did.

There was much acclaim for the new rules. A few thought U.S. Soccer overreacted to the threat of litigation over youth concussions; but upon closer examination, I’m not really sure much was changed, other than limiting the liability for U.S. Soccer.

Youth soccer is facing a similar crisis to that of youth football; parents are beginning to question whether the benefits of permitting their children to play sports that carry a higher risk of head injury, like football and soccer, outweigh the risks of future health complications due to concussions and repetitive sub-concussive hits. Youth football has already seen a decline in participation and it’s not outlandish to think a similar trend could hit youth soccer as more information becomes available to parents.

So why does the U.S. Soccer Federation now care so much about concussions? Look to the lawyers.

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Missouri Football Strike Proves Athletes Are Our Universities’ Most Valuable Commodities

The following post originally appeared on Above the Law Redline on November 8, 2015. However, since it is one of the most important sports stories of 2015, we are reprinting it. Enjoy!

Late Saturday night, while most Americans were fully embedded in their couch’s butt groove after a day of some of the year’s best college football games, a group of athletes decided to embark on the most important goal line stand of their lives. At 9:14 p.m., the University of Missouri’s Legion of Black Collegians announced that the school’s black football players would no longer suit up until school president, Tim Wolfe, stepped down. Their statement read:

The athletes of color on the University of Missouri football team truly believe ‘Injustice Anywhere is a threat to Justice Everywhere.’ We will no longer participate in any football related activities until President Tim Wolfe resigns or is removed due to his negligence toward marginalized students’ experiences. WE ARE UNITED!!!!!

As many news outlets have now reported, racial tension has been brewing for months at Missouri after the administration failed to respond to several racist incidents involving verbal abuse directed at black students. The situation boiled over when someone recently smeared a swastika in feces on a dorm’s bathroom. Now, a black graduate student is on a hunger strike and the universities’ most-prized athletes are on a football strike.

According to my former colleague David Morrison, 42 of the 64 players on Missouri’s depth chart are black and at this point they have the full support of the coaching staff and athletic department.

This, of course, should not come as a surprise, because without Missouri’s black football players, there is no football team. And without a football team there is no money.

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What’s the Future of Daily Fantasy Sports in 2016?

Sponsored Content From Supporters Of The Legal Blitz

Daily fantasy sports have caught fire in the UK and around the world. An import from the US, they have ridden off the back of successful sports like the NFL and the Premier League. It’s a chance to compete against your friends and show off your sporting knowledge.

The future of daily fantasy sports in 2016 isn’t all too clear, however, and we’re going to go into why.

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Steve Silver Joined The Dan Patrick Show To Discuss The New York Battle Over Daily Fantasy Sports

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Open To The Public – The Legal Blitz Returns To Temple Law To Discuss Sports Betting and DFS

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Michael Jordan Leading The Fight For Athlete Publicity Rights

By Doug Fuglsang. Mr. Fuglsang is a licensed attorney in Illinois and Wisconsin with a Sports Law Certificate from the National Sports Law Institute. He can be reached at doug.fuglsang@gmail.com.

You might have heard recently that Michael Jordan received an $8.9 million judgment in Federal Court against Dominick’s, a defunct local Chicago grocery store chain, and its parent company Safeway, for violating the Illinois Right of Publicity Act (“IRPA”) by using Jordan’s identity for a “commercial” purpose without his permission.

Many took the clickbait opportunity to criticize Jordan for being greedy, but there is nothing wrong with someone preventing the unlicensed use of their image –especially if you have achieved celebrity status as an athlete, where your earning potential is severely limited by the length of your career and a salary cap.

Jordan currently has two lawsuits pending against local Chicago grocery stores for violating IRPA. The Dominick’s lawsuit has reached the damages phase of trial, while the second suit against Jewel, a local Albertsons subsidiary, is set for trial on December 8, 2015. Both lawsuits stem from advertisements placed in Sports Illustrated magazine using Jordan’s likeness.

To truly understand everything what goes into protecting an athlete’s image such as Michael Jordan’s you would need to consider state defamation, state privacy laws, common law, as well as federal trademark law and misappropriation claims under the Lanham Act; but the focal point of Jordan’s pending lawsuits against the grocery stores is the right of publicity.

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Why Pennsylvania Should Follow Nevada’s Lead and Regulate FanDuel and DraftKings

The following column, written by The Legal Blitz Founder Steve Silver, originally appeared on Philadelphia Magazine’s Biz Philly website on October 19, 2015. Special thanks to Jared Shelly for his editing expertise.

Nevada is rarely a pillar of morality or model lawmaking.

However, the state’s decision last week to shut down daily fantasy sports operators such as DraftKings and FanDuel until they obtain gaming licenses is a path Pennsylvania should emulate.

By classifying daily fantasy sports as gambling — because that’s what it really is — rather than a game of skill, Nevada determined that a proper license from the Gaming Control Board is necessary to do business in the state. Nevada is now the sixth state to outlaw or limit daily fantasy sports — and there are plenty of others seeking to regulate or ban the increasingly popular contests. Currently, New York, Delaware, Illinois, and even the U.S. Congress are investigating the legality of daily fantasy sports.

Meanwhile, news broke last week that DraftKings and FanDuel are allegedly engaged in consumer fraud through unlawful insider trading.

Pennsylvania is in a particularly unique position to follow Nevada’s lead and create a framework to license, regulate and tax daily fantasy sports as it does with other forms of gambling.

To read the full column and Silver’s regulatory proposal, visit PhillyMag.com.

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