Joseph M. Leccese is the Chairman of the firm and co-head of the Sports Law Group. He has a broad-based corporate practice with particular emphasis on the representation of professional sports leagues, teams and owners; college conferences; and financial institutions that provide capital to the broad array of transactions that occur in the sports industry.
Joe’s sports experience includes numerous matters for the National Basketball Association, National Hockey League, Major League Soccer, PAC-12 Conference, ATP Tour and WTA Tour, as well as for a number of individual sports teams, owners and sports-related entities.
Joe has handled a number of matters relating to the acquisition, financing, operation and equity funding of professional sports teams, including the acquisition of the Jacksonville Jaguars for Shahid Khan, the Houston Astros for a group led by Jim Crane, the Washington Nationals for Theodore N. Lerner, the New York Jets for Robert Wood Johnson IV and the Philadelphia Eagles for Jeffrey R. Lurie. Joe continues to represent these and other clubs on a continuing basis. He also has represented bidders for many other teams across a broad variety of sports, both in privately negotiated sales and in auctions. Joe also represented the NBA in its grant of expansion franchises to Charlotte in 2002, Toronto and Vancouver in 1995, and Charlotte, Miami, Minnesota and Orlando in 1988 and 1989 and the NHL in its grant of expansion franchises to Atlanta, Columbus, Nashville and Minnesota in 1998-2000.
Joe has been the lead negotiator in multiple stadium and arena deals and financings, including in connection with the facilities developed by the Philadelphia Eagles, New York Jets, New Jersey Devils and Orlando Magic, as well as the arena developed by the NBA in Charlotte. Joe also has represented lenders in connection with a number of facilities-related financings, including the financing for Citi Field.
Joe has handled a variety of joint ventures and other innovative sports transactions, including the formation of NBA China, the WNBA, the NBA Development League and Legends Hospitality, a joint venture among affiliates of the Dallas Cowboys, the New York Yankees and Goldman Sachs.
Joe also has broad experience advising on national and international television contracts with major telecasters; the exploitation of Internet, new media and technology rights; and a variety of matters relating to the exploitation of stadia and arenas, including naming rights, seat licenses and related arrangements.
Joe is a frequent speaker and lecturer on business and legal topics in sports.