Entertainment & Sports Law

The Cassels Entertainment & Sports Law Practice is the leading group of its kind in Canada. We represent a wide cross-section of local, national and international clients in the sporting industry including:

  • Professional sports teams
  • Amateur sports leagues
  • Professional and amateur athletes
  • Agents
  • Coaches
  • Event promoters
  • General managers
  • Sports executives
  • Sports broadcasters
  • Olympic game organizers

Recognized as industry leaders, our sports law professionals call upon partners in our Business Law, Financial Services, Tax & Trusts and Commercial Litigation Groups, to bring our clients the best possible service and expertise.

Our Expertise

We regularly advise clients and negotiate agreements regarding:

  • Advertising and marketing
  • Broadcasting
  • Concessionaire and food
  • Contracts with players, coaches and general managers
  • Endorsements and sponsorships
  • Film and television
  • Financing
  • Gaming
  • Information technology
  • Intellectual property
  • Internet properties
  • Labour and employment
  • Licensing and distribution
  • Litigation
  • Mergers and acquisitions
  • Multimedia
  • Music
  • Naming rights
  • Publishing
  • Suite licensing
  • Ticket language

Representative Work

Professional Sports Franchise Acquisitions

Our lawyers have been involved in the following transactions:

  • Acquisition of the Ottawa Senators Hockey Club and Scotiabank Place, acting for the buyer
  • Acquisition of the St. Michael’s Majors, and acquisition and sale of the Mississauga Icedogs, both of the Ontario Hockey League, acting for the owner
  • Purchase of the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League
  • $130 million financing of the Ottawa Senators and Scotiabank Place, acting for the Club and the Arena
  • $265 million financing of the Montreal Canadiens and the Bell Centre, acting for the administrative agent and a syndicate of lenders
  • $100 million acquisition financing for the Edmonton Oilers and Rexall Place, acting for the administrative agent and a syndicate of lenders
  • Negotiating the terms of the Toronto Raptors Basketball Team’s expansion agreement with the NBA and the development of the Air Canada Centre

Professional Sports Franchises Ongoing Commercial Work

Some examples of our ongoing commercial work include:

  • Acting as general counsel to the Ottawa Senators Hockey Club
  • Negotiation of naming rights for Scotiabank Place
  • Litigating matters for the Toronto Blue Jays Baseball Club
  • Acting as general counsel to the CFL
  • Advising NBA and NHL players in various matters
  • Lawyers seconded to the Ottawa Senators Hockey Club


Our clients include major publishers, producers, distributors, broadcasters, theatres, venues, advertising agencies, animators and concert promoters – as well as copyright collectives, content owners, directors, writers, composers and some of Canada’s best-known performers.

From options, licensing and distribution contracts to agreements with unions, guilds and industry bodies, we have the depth and breadth to solve every entertainment law-related issue. In addition, we advise on:

  • regulatory applications
  • production and acquisition of programming
  • purchase and sale of stations
  • personnel concerns
  • libel
  • financing
  • errors and omissions insurance

Niche expertise in online, video and interactive gaming

World-wide video game industry profits are projected to exceed $86 billion in 2016. This rapidly growing and competitive industry has its own specific set of complex legal challenges. Our clients 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

Here’s a snapshot of some notable successes:

  • Advising the Really Useful Group – including principal Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber – on the legal aspects of its production, licensing and union negotiations (including with the American Federation of Musicians) and on issues including orchestra size, amendments to house agreements, introduction of pre-recorded music and effects, documentary production concurrent with performance, union membership participation in educational and non-profit programming, remote location of musicians, benefits, overtime calls, and disputes, sponsorship agreements, record production and distribution and merchandising matters relating to productions in Canada and elsewhere
  • Acting for Canwest Media in its negotiations with the American Federation of Musicians AFM concerning the ongoing use of live music on a major television program
  • Helping the Toronto Centre for the Arts negotiate contracts relating to its highly successful runs of the musicals My Fair Lady, Jersey Boys and South Pacific
  • Assisting the Canadian Football League with Grey Cup performance agreements for the Black Eyed Peas and Shania Twain
  • Acting for Canwest Media on licensing requirements relating to music, advertising and Internet issues (including the acquisition and exploitation of new media rights) for major broadcast events including the Super Bowl
  • Representing Barenaked Ladies in connection with their performance at the Super Bowl
  • Acting for Canada’s Got Talent semi-finalists in connection with their appearance on the program – as well as touring, recording and video agreements
  • Advising on franchising rights in connection with mobile video game facilities for use at special events
  • Advising video/interactive gaming studios and related companies, including Blue Isle Studios, Uken Studios Inc. and the Intertain Group on various corporate and financing matters
  • Representing investment dealers in connection with several financings for Amaya Gaming Group Inc. and a venture capital firm investing in J2Play, which was subsequently acquired by EA Sports