Veteran Sports Lawyers Chuck Baker and Irwin Raij Join Sidley

Veteran Sports Lawyers Chuck Baker and Irwin Raij Join Sidley

The shakeup in the sports law industry continued last week with news that Sidley Austin LLP had brought in Charles “Chuck” Baker and Irwin Raij as partners and co-chairs of its Entertainment, Sports and Media industry group.

Baker has joined in New York and Miami, while Raij has joined in Miami. They were previously co-chairs of the Sports Industry Group at O’Melveny & Myers LLP. Greg Fritzius from Jones Day, as well as incoming fall associates Ally Levy, and Max Budowsky, will also be joining in Miami, and Taylor Larson will be joining in Los Angeles, to support the Entertainment, Sports, and Media group.

Baker’s corporate practice encompasses mergers and acquisitions and private equity transactions, with a core focus in the sports, media, and entertainment industry. He has earned Chambers USA recognition representing buyers and sellers of sports franchises in groundbreaking deals in the National Football League, National Basketball Association, National Hockey League, Major League Baseball, Major League Soccer, National Women’s Soccer League, Liga MX, and many of the European football leagues. He has also represented private equity firms in sports team and sports property investments as well as gaming and data companies in both strategic partnerships and media deals with sports leagues in the U.S. and abroad.

Raij is a Chambers USA recognized lawyer with extensive experience leading transactions on a wide range of sports matters on both the professional and collegiate levels. He has represented sports teams, leagues, universities, and state and local governments. His experience includes matters related to MLB, MiLB, MLS, NBA, NHL, NFL, NWSL, European football leagues, and Formula 1, along with major colleges and universities. He is a former owner of the Oklahoma City Dodgers (MiLB), and a current owner of the MLS Los Angeles Football Club (LAFC).

In addition to representing buyers and sellers of sports franchises, Raij is focused on development and financing projects involving sports facilities, including related management agreements, concessions, merchandising, and naming rights. Raij has received numerous “dealmaker of the year” awards throughout his career in several categories. He also advises on television and media rights, sponsorships, naming rights, team operations, and sports licensing arrangements. His stadium facilities and finance work has involved NFL, MLS, MLB, NBA, NWSL, Formula 1 events, and colleges and universities.

“We are excited to bring on Irwin and Chuck with their complementary, destination practices in the sports and media world,” said Yvette Ostolaza, Chair of the firm’s Management Committee. “Combined with our strong M&A, private equity, real estate, and finance practices, they will be aligned with our broader entertainment practice in the rapidly growing sports and media industry.”

“Adding Chuck and Irwin’s sports practice to Matt Thompson’s winning media team is like hitting it out of the park: a grand slam,” said Dan Clivner, co-leader of the firm’s global M&A and Private Equity practice. “Chuck and Irwin have unmatched experience in this space and our platform will give them all the advantages they need to continue to grow.”

Baker and Raij both serve as adjunct professors at the University of Miami School of Law’s Entertainment, Arts and Sports Law LL.M degree program.