The 2026 Men’s World Cup will be hosted across the United States, Canada, and Mexico—the first time the tournament will see three host countries—and be the largest to date, with 48 nations competing and nearly double the games. With an extensive presence in US host cities and strong connections in Canada and Mexico, lawyers from our 2026 World Cup Initiative stand ready to help companies profit from exciting opportunities for project development, investment, and commercial enterprise while managing risk.
Our lawyers are deeply engaged in this space, having counseled US Soccer in its historic collective bargaining agreement for equal pay for the men’s and women’s teams; handling the regulatory and transactional work for the first major US sports stadium on track to operate on 100% renewable energy; advising global sports leagues on mobility for athletes and staff; and counseling a FIFA World Cup 26™ host city on senior executive employment agreements. We have trusted relationships with global sports brands, teams, and leagues; investors including private equity firms, sovereign wealth funds, and individuals; and sponsors, broadcasters, and the media.
Our firm’s global talent, geographic reach, and extensive resources mean we can swiftly field teams to assist our clients in the following areas:
To receive updates about opportunities and regulations related to the 2026 World Cup, subscribe to our 2026 World Cup: Business Potential & Legal Pitfalls mailing list.
Technological advances and changes prompted by COVID-19 have driven an evolution in sports sponsorship agreements, from traditional advertising to a digital-heavy and more accessible sponsorship environment. But with those advances arise a series of emerging legal issues, including sponsor entitlements, new IP clearance requirements, and challenges raised by the metaverse. Morgan Lewis lawyers analyze some of the biggest trends in sports sponsorship agreements in the digital age.
Private equity firms, financial sponsors, and sovereign wealth funds continue to invest in global sports organizations. Financial sponsor–led investments were more prevalent at the beginning of the century in Europe and elsewhere around the world, with Formula One, soccer, and rugby among the sports forging the path over the last two decades.
Recent action by the Biden administration has made clear once more that advancing equity, environmental justice, and civil rights is a key component of the environmental agenda that it seeks to address through a “whole of government” approach.
Following an English football fan–led review, the UK government recently proposed numerous changes for the game’s clubs, key among them being the appointment of an independent regulator with oversight for many areas of fan concern.
In honor of International Women’s Day, Morgan Lewis Chair Jami McKeon and global sports industry team co-leader Louise Skinner hosted a panel of barrier-breakers in the sports industry to talk about the role and responsibility of global sports brands in pushing for greater gender inclusivity and equity.
Morgan Lewis lawyers lay out some important trends in the 2023 energy storage market.
The prevention of forced labor in the global supply chain has been elevated in visibility and consequence over the last several years. In 2022, the emphasis focused largely, though not exclusively, on trade remedies. The United States enacted the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, the European Union proposed a ban on imports made with forced labor, and the United Kingdom proposed updates to the Modern Slavery Act. Outside of trade, litigation alleging claims of misrepresentation is pending in the US courts, and in the EU there are multiple investigations into allegations of forced labor in the fashion retail supply chain.
For most athletes, working in one professional sports league is a dream come true. But associate Samantha Ojo didn’t stop at just one. Before she joined Morgan Lewis’s global sports industry team, Samantha worked for the NFL, NFL Players Association, LA Clippers, and the MLB Players Association, gaining a true appreciation for how a professional sports team runs. She applies that knowledge, along with her college athletics experience, as a labor and employment lawyer for our sports clients. Samantha shares a bit more of her story, and tells us how being an athlete has made her a better lawyer and colleague.
Partners Sharon Perley Masling and Louise Skinner and associate Liz Polido wrote an article for International Employment Lawyer explaining how sports team investors are taking a closer look at an organization’s culture during the dealmaking process. The piece discusses the importance of assessing workplace culture before an acquisition or merger, and notes that an increased focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts makes it likely these efforts will continue.
Partners Kelly Gibson and Liz Goldberg, along with associate Michael Hacker, wrote an article for Reuters addressing ways companies and asset managers can help ensure disclosures related to environmental, social, and governance issues do not invite an investigation or enforcement action from the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Getting the Deal Through – Labour & Employment provides international analysis in key areas of labor and employment law and policy for corporate counsel, cross-border legal practitioners, and business people.
Partner Sharon Perley Masling drafted an article for Sports Business Journal on how sports teams and leagues can support athletes’ mental health.
Partners Jack Concannon and Don Shelkey authored an article for Sports Business Journal about legal issues raised by the quick expansion of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) into the sports industry.
The Patent Trial and Appeal Board found in a recent inter partes review—DraftKings Inc. v. Interactive Games LLC—that DraftKings’ proposed combination of prior art would have been obvious when Interactive Games’ mobile gambling patent was filed, and was therefore unpatentable. The outcome of this case demonstrates the ineffectuality of arguing that there is no motivation to modify the primary reference because it works as is, as well as the importance of understanding whether an invention feature is truly necessary and whether removal of such would render the invention inoperable for its intended purpose.
In Sportico, partner Jeff Moorad writes about the evolution of investment opportunities within the sports industry.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the sports industry was one of the first to be in a position to move its people around the world, with sporting events often a test case for further easing measures. Now with varying levels of restrictions being eased globally, we are seeing more events take place within the context of restricted travel. This constantly changing landscape makes managing and traveling to large international events a challenge for sporting professionals and those who work in the industry.
Partner Nicole Buffalano spoke with The American Lawyer about Morgan Lewis’s 2026 World Cup Initiative to assist clients with business opportunities and the legal and regulatory challenges associated with the global sporting event.
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.
The Sports Business Journal noted partner Larry Turner’s role as moderator of the How to Lead Transformational Change panel during the publication’s annual All In conference.
Benchmark Litigation honors partner Nicole Buffalano with two awards by naming her Labor & Employment Litigator of the Year and an Impact Case Award winner as part of its 2023 USA Awards.
The National Law Journal named partner Nicole Buffalano a 2022 Sports/Gaming/Entertainment Law Trailblazer. The annual list showcases lawyers deemed agents of change in their practice areas. Nicole is featured for her work negotiating the collective bargaining agreement for the US Soccer Federation, which led to historic equal pay agreements for the women's and men's national teams.
MSP Sports Capital closed on its acquisition of a majority interest in X Games from ESPN Productions, Inc., a subsidiary of ESPN, Inc. Morgan Lewis represented MSP Sports Capital in its acquisition of the iconic sports and entertainment property.
Sports Litigation Alert featured a Q&A with partner Sharon Perley Masling on why stigma around mental health still exists in professional sports and the legal responsibilities of employers in this space to support their employees’ well-being.
In this American Lawyer Litigation Daily feature article, Morgan Lewis is cited as lead counsel to the United States Soccer Federation in separate collective bargaining negotiations for both the US men’s and women’s teams regarding pay equity.
Morgan Lewis served as lead counsel to the United States Soccer Federation in collective bargaining negotiations that culminated with first-of-their-kind equal pay agreements between the federation and players associations representing its women’s and men’s national teams.
Partner Nicole Buffalano was profiled by Daily Journal in its annual report on the Top Women Lawyers of 2022.
In an interview with Sports Litigation Alert, partner Sharon Masling spoke about the movement to proactively address workplace culture issues within the professional sports industry.
Morgan Lewis is representing The New York Times Company in an agreement to acquire The Athletic, a global digital subscription-based sports media business, for an all cash price of $550 million, subject to customary closing adjustments.
Morgan Lewis partners Richard Aldridge, Jonathan Bernstein, and Jeffrey Moorad have been recognized as Power Players by Sports Business Journal. The individuals and firms in the second installment of this list were selected because of their involvement with the biggest legal deals and premier organizations in the industry.
Morgan Lewis is proud to sponsor Sports Business Journal’s ALL IN.
Sports franchises have emerged as a new asset class. In recent years, sports franchise values have continued to increase dramatically. This increase, combined with growing investor demand to get into the game, has resulted in substantial investment in this sector.
Join us as a team of Morgan Lewis commercial transaction and intellectual property lawyers discuss the changing landscape of modern sports sponsorship agreements negotiation while emphasizing the impact of new technologies—including blockchain technologies, modern entitlements such as rotating digital billboards, and the evolving definition of what constitutes a prohibited material.