Press Release

Morgan Lewis Establishes 2026 World Cup Initiative

Thursday, August 24, 2023

WASHINGTON, DC, August 24, 2023: In anticipation of the many business opportunities and complex legal and regulatory challenges that will emerge from FIFA World Cup 26™, Morgan Lewis has assembled a multidisciplinary 2026 World Cup Initiative to advise companies on the business potential of the global sporting event, while helping them manage risks and navigate compliance across the three host countries.

With an extensive presence in the US cities that will host the games and strong connections in Canada and Mexico, lawyers from the 2026 World Cup Initiative are deeply engaged in the business of sports on a global scale. Our lawyers provide comprehensive corporate, transactional, litigation, and regulatory services in the sports industry, including assisting with events such as the FIFA World Cup 2018 and the London Olympics and Paralympics, handling the regulatory and transactional work for the first major US stadium on track to operate on 100% renewable energy, counseling a FIFA World Cup 26™ host city on employment issues and grant documents, and advising the US Soccer Federation in its historic collective bargaining agreement for equal pay for the men’s and women’s teams. Morgan Lewis lawyers regularly support globally renowned sporting organizations such as the International Olympic Committee, the US Soccer Federation, Formula One, and the US Tennis Association on a wide range of matters.

“As the 2026 World Cup will be the largest ever and the first to be hosted across three countries, the business opportunities and regulatory challenges will be magnified for all companies involved in the global sporting event,” said partner Nicole Buffalano, who provides ongoing support to the US Soccer Federation and played a key role in negotiating its collective bargaining agreement for equal pay. “By creating this cross-practice initiative to collaboratively serve clients operating and investing in the World Cup, we will draw on our firm’s experience in the sports industry to guide clients through their opportunities for sponsorship and commercial enterprise, while helping them navigate their responsibilities around human rights, sustainability, and immigration.”

Nicole, along with partners Daniel Losk and Stephanie Sweitzer, will co-lead the initiative, which counts nearly 30 lawyers from a dozen practices, including commercial transactions, labor and employment, intellectual property, immigration, finance, and tax. Lawyers from the initiative regularly represent global sports brands, teams, and leagues; investors including private equity firms, sovereign wealth funds, and individuals; and sponsors, broadcasters, and the media.

For more information, see 2026 World Cup: Business Potential & Legal Pitfalls.