Main Menu
Posts from July 2023.

Welcome back to the Spotlight! It has been quite a week for soccer (not football) in the United States. Lionel Messi’s first two appearances in Inter Miami’s flamingo pink jerseys (Barbie would be thrilled) have already proven his move stateside to Major League Soccer less messy and more messianic. First, he netted the game winner in his debut. Then in the next game he scored 2 outstanding goals in the first twenty minutes. A remarkable feat from someone who knows how to use his feet. If this sounded like a beginning too good to be true, and persuaded you to reach for your tin foil hat, watch the highlights. No smoke, no mirrors – just unparalleled talent.

Clearly, the MLS has to feel good about the new audience and excitement that Messi is bringing into the fold – creating a perfect runway for the US-hosted FIFA Men’s World Cup in several years. On the Women’s side, where the World Cup is in full swing, the United States Women’s National Team is back to their winning ways (outperforming their male counterparts as per usual).  On the other side of the globe, Saudi Arabia has proven itself keen to invest in sports, not only through its backing of LIV Golf, but through offering absurd sums of money (by the barrel?) to decorated soccer players including Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Kylian Mbappe – the latter of whom rebuffed an offer to play in Saudi Arabia for one year for the record setting, bargain basement price of $700 million. Though Mbappe is likely to continue playing in Europe, there is much reason to view soccer as ascendant throughout the world – but perhaps most significantly now in the US. Time will tell whether it is sustainable, but certainly the MLS should be able to use Messi as an anchor to attract more stars for years to come.

    • Two dueling bipartisan proposals addressing college athletes’ rights were unveiled in Congress this week, including a proposal by Senator Joe Manchin and Senator Tommy Tuberville to help “restore integrity” to college sports.  What’s notable about that bill is not as much that it is introduced by a former college football coach (Tuberville), but rather Congress’ charge to restore integrity.
    • Formula One racing is threatening to erect barriers blocking the view of the Las Vegas Grand Prix from properties located on the Vegas Strip. Sounds like the all-you-can-eat buffets are back to being the best deal in town.
    • Dwayne Johnson makes a seven figure donation to the SAG-AFTRA Strike Relief Fund, proving himself to be The Rock for his fellow actors. What can he say except, “you’re welcome”?

    • Actors such as Bryan Cranston and James Van Der Beek are delivering impassioned messages about the threat of artificial intelligence to actors’ livelihoods – a key motivating factor for the strike. Van Der Beek’s message boils down (Cranston fans know to keep their distance when something is boiling down) to “I don’t want to wait for our rights to be over.”

Welcome back to the Spotlight! If you’re like me, you were probably hoping that the twin strikes in Hollywood (WGA and SAG-AFTRA) may have been at least incrementally closer to coming to an end.  But to no avail, neither the motion picture and television studios nor the actors or writers seem to be blinking.  As such, the lights remain out on film and TV sets across the country.  Heralding a potentially perilous time for the entertainment industry—particularly if the strikes drag on for several more months.  After all, though that streaming queue of yours may seem daunting now, you are just a few break-ups, sick days and lazy Sundays away from being forced to read a book, or worse, having to get off your couch and actually interact with other people. For now, we can take comfort in the fact that the sports world is largely unaffected by the work stoppage (except for Yankees fans like myself who would rather watch paint dry than tune in to a game), making for a pretty nice hedge for actors and Wrexham A.F.C. owners, Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney as the team embarks on a stateside tour. And more significantly, the upcoming Women’s World Cup is right around the corner ready to provide the drama and theatrics to fill the void for a few weeks. Regardless, as in baseball, two strikes against you does not bode well for studios and networks, so it seems like it is just a matter of time before they re-illuminate their spotlight.

    • University of Missouri Wide Receiver Luther Burden III catches a name, image and likeness deal from Commerce Bank, thus improving its burden ratio. 
    • Rumors swirling social media cast Universal Studios as resorting to petty, retaliatory act of trimming tree branches along SAG-AFTRA and WGA picket lines to make the 90 degree Southern California heat that much more difficult to deal with. Another plausible explanation was that Universal Studios had an unrequited desire to yell “cut!”
    • Tennis icons Steffi Graf and Maria Sharapova are headed back to the court to compete alongside John McEnroe and Andre Agassi in a second installment of the first Pickleball Slam event that featured McEnroe, Agassi, Michael Chang and Andy Roddick. To the naysayers expecting a downfall in Pickleball, McEnroe says, “you *cannot* be serious!”

Welcome back to the Spotlight! Hope you didn’t miss me too much. I have to say, despite my break for Independence Day, I nearly hopped back into my writer’s chair when I saw the news out of Las Vegas of an alleged slap suffered by Britney Spears at the hands of top NBA Draft pick Victor Wembanyama’s security detail. Stories that incredible make it hard to believe this is real life.  But I was quickly diverted away to a different part of Las Vegas in awe of the bright shiny object that is the $2.2 billion MSG Sphere and its “exosphere” video system that spans the entire surface of the live events venue. Not to be outdone (speaking of bright shiny objects), my sons, resting comfortably in their respective beds were awoken by the cacophony of bright fireworks outside their bedroom window. Not ideal conditions for writing, let alone sleeping. Fortunately for Wembanyama, his security was cleared of wrongdoing, fortunately for my kids and the fireworks eventually stopped.  Unfortunately for me, I had to stop watching the wondrous Sphere, which brings me here to bring you what’s new.   
In a case that could have far-reaching impact on the interplay between intellectual property rights and artificial intelligence (AI), Comedian Sarah Silverman was among a group of authors suing Meta and ChatGPT creator OpenAI alleging that their artificial intelligence training program infringed their copyrights by lifting passages from books including Silverman’s “Bedwetter” (also an apt descriptor for those thinking about an AI uprising).

    • Dallas Mavericks point guard Kyrie Irving’s basketball shoe endorsement deal is with a four letter brand—just not the one that likely comes to mind. Instead of Oregon, his deal takes him around the globe (or disc, depending on your viewpoint) to Chinese apparel brand ANTA. Based on recent history it’s fair to wonder whether his shoe will be called “GONIST.”
    • The New York Yankees ink a jersey patch sponsorship deal (worth approximately $25 million per year) with a less-than-household-name, Starr Insurance.  Perhaps the $25 million per year will provide star insurance to offset the $40 million owed to an injured Aaron Judge (toe) this year.
    • Already knowing a thing or two about “pop” music in advertising, Coca-Cola is taking music recording in-house, launching “Coke Studio.” When reached for comment, Studio 54 said “stay in your lane!”   

Search This Blog



Our Team
The Sports, Arts & Entertainment group at Foster Garvey provides full service legal representation on sports, entertainment and business matters, including handling transactions related to brand management, licensing, joint ventures, venture capital, private equity, technology, the Internet and new media.
Read More

Recent Posts


Select Category:


Select Month:


Back to Page

We use cookies to improve your experience on our website. By continuing to use our website, you agree to the use of cookies. To learn more about how we use cookies, please see our Cookie Policy.