Sports and Entertainment

The global sports and entertainment industries employ millions of workers, delight billions of spectators, and generate trillions of dollars each year. The combination of sports and entertainment is a global cultural juggernaut like no other, and the industries create tremendous opportunities for individuals and for companies — just think of the disruption of streaming services, and the rise of millionaire YouTubers and Instagrammers, both phenomena of the last decade. But along with these opportunities, there are also legal risks and challenges unique to the industry.

The Sports and Entertainment Practice Group at Goldberg Segalla comprises attorneys experienced in representing national-league sports franchises, professional athletes, singer-songwriters, musicians’ guilds, movie studios, and others in the industry. Backed by a record of successfully resolving complex and high-value disputes involving licensing, contracts, intellectual property, and civil litigation, they represent some of the sports and entertainment world’s most recognizable names, defending them in court and counseling them on day-to-day business management.

Under the leadership of the team’s founder and chair Joseph M. Hanna, a nationally recognized authority on the National Football League concussion litigation and member of the Law360 Sports Editorial Advisory Board, our attorneys have built reputations not only as superior litigators, but as keen and far-sighted commentators on business and legal trends in sports and entertainment, publishing widely and keeping our clients up to date through the award-winning Sports and Entertainment Law Insider blog.

Intellectual Property Rights

Whether you want to protect a groundbreaking invention, an artistic logo, or future hit song, our attorneys work tirelessly to defend your intellectual property and creative output. Our group is equipped to defend all of your rights in this vast and ever-expanding area of law, through services including:

  • Intellectual property litigation
  • Management, protection, and optimization of intellectual property, including copyright and trademark registrations
  • Trade secret identification, protection, and misappropriation litigation
  • Trademark Trial and Appeal Board proceedings
  • Patent, trademark, and copyright licenses
  • Guidance on the doctrine of “works made for hire,” including employee inventions
Contractual Issues

In the world of sports and entertainment, most issues and disputes that arise deal in some way with the complicated legal realm of contracts. Fortunately, our team is well versed in a multitude of contractual issues, including but not limited to:

  • Performance, endorsement, and royalty agreements
  • Licensing agreements
  • Contract litigation and arbitration

We also advise our clients in complex negotiations, leveraging the full weight of our experience, transactional finesse, and understanding of the sports and entertainment industries to protect our clients’ rights, ensure their talents and services are properly valued, and position them to achieve their long-term financial and career goals.

Protecting Publicity and Privacy Rights

Privacy is both a fundamental human expectation as well as a potentially valuable asset in the world of sports and entertainment. Because of the ubiquity of the internet and “smart” technology, we increasingly barter our privacy for social reasons; and this has shifted cultural expectations in ways that impact celebrities — athletes, entertainers, public figures — the most.

Our team is fully capable of defending your privacy as well as preventing businesses and individuals from using your name or likeness for financial gain without your consent. We can do this by catching language in contracts and agreements that might jeopardize your right to privacy and to your own name and likeness, as well as by aggressively pursuing litigation against those who violate your privacy. As neither rights of privacy nor publicity are the subject of federal law, our team is primed to interpret pertinent state laws to defend our clients in any jurisdiction.

About the Sports and Entertainment Law Team

Passion for sports and entertainment drives our success in serving our clients. We build long-term relationships with our clients, built on a comprehensive, adaptive, and forward-thinking understanding of their business needs and objectives. Deeply committed to our clients and to the industry as a whole, our attorneys are members of groups including:

  • Sports Lawyers Association
  • International Institute for Conflict Prevention and Resolution, Panels of Distinguished Neutrals, Entertainment Law and Sports Law groups
  • Defense Research Institute (DRI) Commercial Litigation Committee Sports and Entertainment Law Specialized Litigation Group

If you have questions for or about Goldberg Segalla's Sports and Entertainment Practice Group, please contact Joseph M. Hanna (716.566.5447 or

For news on the latest legal developments impacting the business of sports and entertainment, please visit our Sports and Entertainment Law Insider blog.