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Capabilities / Sports Facility Planning, Development & Use

Sports Facility Planning, Development & Use

When it comes to pro sports venues, we know the score.

Arenas, ballparks and stadiums are complex, high-profile projects that trigger intense negotiations between teams and their host communities, drawing scrutiny from a wide variety of stakeholders. Husch Blackwell’s arena and stadium experience spans MLB, NBA, NHL, MLS and NFL venues, as well as USL and Minor League Baseball, giving us the industry knowledge, contacts, insight and skills to steer clients through these politically-charged projects with a steady hand and seasoned perspective.

Our sports venue team structures, negotiates and documents deals for clients across the United States. Whether a sports facility project is a new ground-up development, a renewal of terms requiring additional capital improvements, or a significant redevelopment, we work closely with community leaders, team owners and financial advisors to clarify each party’s obligations and contributions and how the parties will respectively benefit. Because no pro sports venue is exactly like any other, we tailor our approach to each venue’s unique circumstances, with expertise to cover every aspect of a sports venue project – from financing and land acquisition to intellectual property and community benefits. Professional sports teams and their home venues drive community engagement, with lasting economic impacts – that’s why we’re driven to help our clients deliver on the opportunities a sports venue promises. 

  • Representing an NFL hockey franchise in its efforts to secure public financing for a comprehensive renovation of its NFL Hockey and other events venue.
  • Represent the City of Stockton, California, in lease negotiations with the Stockton Thunder ECHL affiliate.
  • Assisted in construction of the Savvis Center, home of the St. Louis Blues. The arena is now known as Scottrade Center.
Case Study
Washington State Major League Baseball Public Facilities District

The owner of T-Mobile Park turned to Husch Blackwell to strike a new agreement with the Mariners.

Representative Experience

  • Structured P3 arrangement and negotiated primary agreements for design, development, funding and use of new $477 million, publicly-owned arena for the city of Sacramento and the NBA’s Kings.
  • Negotiated complex P3 development agreement for construction of a $60 million ballpark and long-term lease with the city of El Paso, Texas on behalf of MountainStar Sports Group in its acquisition of the Tucson Padres.
  • Advised Wisconsin Center District on creation of a public-private partnership to develop, finance, own and operate a new $524 million arena for the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks. We created the arrangement in which the principal parties equitably shared the liability and benefits of the private-public venture. By the end of the negotiations, the Wisconsin Center District obtained annual rent of $1 million, escalating each year, and one of the strongest non-relocation agreements in professional sports.
  • Represented the City of Phoenix in the negotiation of a master amendment to the operating agreement with the Phoenix Suns for the Phoenix Suns Arena, involving a shared $230 million capital infusion for a significant renovation of the aging arena, as well as a 15-year extension of the Suns’ term. Our Sports Facility Planning, Development & Use team also drove a reallocation of risk for maintenance and capital improvements to the arena going forward and implemented new non-relocation provisions to better protect the public interest in the City’s capital investment in the arena. In addition, the agreements incorporated a commitment from the team to build a new practice facility in Phoenix, enhancing economic benefits to the wider community.
  • Represented the City of Phoenix in its negotiations with the Milwaukee Brewers for a renovation of the Brewers’ spring training facilities and extension of the Brewers’ operations at the City-owned Cactus League facilities, including a new 25-year operating agreement, a development agreement delineating the team’s responsibilities for renovation of the facilities, and a new non-relocation agreement. The team also negotiated the optioning of development rights to the Brewers for a mixed-use development on underutilized City land to help spur economic development in the community.
  • Represented City of St. Louis in the development of Ballpark Village, a master-planned neighborhood that would include retail, entertainment and office spaces, with a baseball stadium at its center. Represented the city in negotiations with the St. Louis Cardinals and the Cordish Co. to develop the $600 million project. Our attorneys also assisted the city with $18 million of Missouri Downtown Economic Stimulus Act (MODESA) bonds for the first phase of the project.
  • Served as lead negotiator for the city of San Diego on the building of a new ballpark that was part of a larger development aimed at revitalizing a blighted area of downtown. By opening day, the area included more than $1.2 billion in private investment. We also represented the city in its lease and new stadium negotiations with the San Diego Chargers.
News Releases | March 08, 2021
Husch Blackwell Named A Top Sports Law Firm
News Releases | November 11, 2019
Kevin Kelley Named as 2019 Sports & Entertainment Law Trailblazer by National Law Journal

Kelley was recognized for his participation in some of the most high-profile sports facilities deals of the past decade.

Testimonial Executive Director, Washington State Major League Baseball Stadium Public Facilities District (PFD) and Owner of T-Mobile Park

“Kevin Kelley and Andrea Austin were outstanding – pro sports facility deals are complex and tough to negotiate, and they were on top of every nuance. Their deep understanding of the issues and how to navigate both the public sector’s priorities and market realities in pro sports helped us achieve a huge win for Seattle baseball fans and the broader community. I would want them on my team every time.”

Read how invested partnerships make a difference
Client Results

The owner of T-Mobile Park turned to Husch Blackwell to strike a new agreement with the Mariners.

See full case study

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