Entertainment & Sports Law

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


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 ChambersLexpert, 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 The Jim Henson Company in its acclaimed reboot of the iconic television series, Fraggle Rock, for Apple TV+
  • Represented long time client Shawn Mendes in the extension and renegotiation of his recording agreement with Island Records and his co-publishing agreement with Universal Music Publishing Group
  • Represented The Second City in the sale of its business to ZMC Media
  • Represented digital artist FEWOCiOUS in his agreements with auction houses Christie’s and Sotheby’s
  • Represented SOCAN, Canada’s largest copyright collective, in litigation before the Supreme Court of Canada
  • 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 recording artist ElyOtto in negotiations with multiple record labels and ultimately his agreement with RCA Records
  • Advised a major US streaming service on the acquisition of a classic library of children’s content
  • Advised a major book publisher on the launch of a new online platform in Canada
  • 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 leading Canadian recording artists in the sale of sound recordings, music publishing catalogues, and other revenue streams
  • Advised major US film studios on issues involving the reversion of rights under the Canadian Copyright Act
  • 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 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
  • Represented songwriter and producer David Charles Fischer p/k/a DCF in his co-publishing agreement with This is Noise Music and Universal Music Publishing Group
  • Represented singer-songwriter LOLO in her co-publishing agreement with Artist Publishing Group (APG) and her recording agreement with Hopeless Records
  • Represented singer-songwriter Pepper Lewis in her distribution agreement with AWAL Recordings America
  • Represented recording artist Sophie Powers in her recording agreement with Set Records
  • Represented singer-songwriter Griffen Palmer in his publishing agreement with Big Loud Music
  • Represented singer-songwriter Saya Gray in her recording agreement with Dirty Hit Records
  • Represented singer-songwriter Ren in negotiations with multiple record labels and ultimately her agreement with Geffen Records, as well as in connection with producer agreements for her debut EP


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

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 online 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