Entertainment & Sports Law

Our Entertainment & Sports Law Group is one of the leading groups of its kind in Canada.

Entertainment

Cassels has been recognized as one of Canada’s elite entertainment law firms for almost 50 years. Our team is repeatedly recognized as a market leader by such high-profile publications as Chambers, Lexpert, and Martindale-Hubbell.

Our clients include major music publishers, record labels, film and TV producers, distributors, broadcasters, book publishers, video game developers, theatres, venues, advertising agencies, and concert promoters – as well as copyright collectives, content owners, directors, writers, composers, animators, and some of Canada’s best-known performers, TV personalities, and social media stars.

Our experience ranges from talent agreements and literary options to the structuring of sophisticated film and TV productions and complex mergers and acquisitions in the entertainment industries. We also handle entertainment and copyright-related litigation at all levels of court and tribunal, including several recent appearances before the Supreme Court of Canada.

In addition, we advise on:

  • Negotiation of recording agreements, publishing agreements and artist management contracts
  • Advice on regulatory applications
  • Advice on production and acquisition of programming the purchase and sale of stations
  • Personnel concerns
  • Libel suits
  • Finance structuring assistance
  • Preparation and review of the necessary production and distribution contracts
  • Errors and omissions insurance

 Recent Work

  • Represented long-time client, The Tragically Hip, in their negotiation with SiriusXM radio to create and launch a channel for the band’s music called The Tragically Hip Radio
  • Represented Canopy Growth Corporation in its joint venture with Canadian artist, Drake to launch the More Life Cannabis Company, a licensed producer of cannabis based in Toronto
  • Represented Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber and his organization The Really Useful Group in licensing, enforcement and litigation matters concerning their portfolio of theatrical productions including Phantom of the Opera, Jesus Christ Superstar, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat and Cats, including recent remounting and tour productions
  • Represented singer-songwriter Ren in negotiations with multiple record labels and ultimately her agreement with Geffen Records; as well we represented Ren in connection with producer agreements for her debut EP
  • Represented Canada’s three recording industry associations, Music Canada, ADISQ, and CIMA, in their opposition to royalty tariffs filed by Artisti, a Quebec-based collective society, for the reproduction of performers’ performances by record companies and by online music services

Sports

The Cassels Sports Law Group is the leading group of its kind in Canada. Recognized as industry leaders, our sports law professionals call upon partners from our Business Law, Financial Services, Tax & Trusts and Commercial Litigation Groups, to bring our clients the best possible service and expertise.

Our team members are recognized in Chambers Canada, Best Lawyers in Canada, Who’s Who Legal, and other peer-reviewed directories. We represent a wide cross-section of local, national and international clients in the sports industry, including professional sports teams, amateur sports leagues, professional and amateur athletes, coaches and agents and executives, broadcasters, and event organizers and promoters.

A sample of areas we regularly advise clients and negotiate agreements include:

  • Advertising and marketing (including sponsorship agreements)
  • Athlete representation
  • Broadcasting
  • Contracts with players, coaches and general managers
  • Endorsements and sponsorships
  • Risk Management (including the drafting of Waivers and Releases concerning the assumption of risk)
  • Film and television
  • Information technology
  • Intellectual property
  • Labour and employment
  • Licensing and merchandising
  • Litigation
  • Mergers and acquisitions
  • Naming rights

Representative Work  

  • Acted for the Club and the Arena on the $130 million financing of the Ottawa Senators and Canadian Tire Centre
  • Acted for the administrative agent and a syndicate of lenders in the $265 million financing of the Montreal Canadiens and the Bell Centre
  • Acted for the administrative agent and a syndicate of lenders in the $100 million acquisition financing for the Edmonton Oilers and Rexall Place
  • Acted for the Belleville Senators Inc. in their acquisition of the Binghamton Senators, the American Hockey League affiliate of the NHL’s Ottawa Senators
  • Acted for the owner in the acquisition and sale of the St. Michael’s Majors and of the Mississauga Icedogs, both Ontario Hockey League, acting for the owner
  • Advised on the purchase of the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League
  • Negotiated the terms of the Toronto Raptors Basketball Team’s expansion agreement with the NBA and the development of the Air Canada Centre
  • Act as Canadian counsel for Arsenal FC and Celtic FC
  • Act as litigation counsel for the Toronto Blue Jays Baseball Club
  • Negotiated the License Agreement between Reebok and the Canadian Football League
  • Represented Zuffa, LLC (parent of the Ultimate Fighting Championship or UFC) with respect to corporate and commercial matters and successfully lobbied the provincial government to regulate Mixed Martial Arts in Ontario
E-Sports

Cassels lawyers have niche experience in online video and interactive gaming. This rapidly growing and competitive industry has its own specific set of complex legal challenges. Clients of Cassels benefit from our full-service capabilities in entertainment, communications, technology and copyright law when dealing with the legal aspects of video game development, publishing and distribution.

Our expertise includes:

  • Development, publishing and distribution agreements
  • Rights negotiation
  • Financing and venture capital investments
  • Mergers and acquisitions, including the acquisition or transfer of assets
  • Franchising

Representative Work

  • Acted for Imperus Technologies Corp., a developer of social and mobile gaming, in its acquisition of Akamon Entertainment Millennium, S.L. for $23.9 million and a concurrent $28 million term loan financing
  • Acted for inbound and outbound gaming industry clients on a variety of matters including gaming software and back office systems licensing and patent design, prosecution and analysis in the gaming industry
  • Acted for Warner Bros in its outbound CD/DVD content manufacture, including gaming, pick and pack and worldwide physical distribution with Technicolor
  • Acted for BCLC developing on-line gaming ‎products
  • Represented the agents, led by Canaccord Genuity Corp., in several financings for Amaya Gaming Group Inc. (now The Stars Group), including a $107 million private placement