- Craft, Jennifer Ko.
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This article was originally published by Nevada Business.
While driving down the I-15, shopping in Summerlin or even strolling the streets of downtown, it’s obvious that the business of sports is alive and well in the city. It’s simple math – stadiums being built means more jobs, seats paid for, merchandise bought, money is being spent. Setting aside speculation as to whether the city can sustain the influx of two major league sports teams, the Raiders and Knights, on top of the UFC, Lights, Aces and Aviators, Vegas has upped the ante for what it means to be a mecca for entertainment, and the team owners and leagues have taken notice.
Vegas is not your average, mid-market town. No offense, Cleveland, but the townies will go to a Browns game whether they’re having an 11-win season or 1. In Vegas, not so much. We can just as easily, and more cheaply might I add, buy tickets to a concert, take your chances at the poker table, or partake in the widest possible variety of entertainment venues – pretty much all the things. I, for one, am saving up for backstage tickets to the next JoJo Siwa concert (yes, moms of pre-teens can be sports fans too).
Ah, but sports is different; isn’t it? The fandom, when born, is like no other. It’s the lifelong, generational, passing-down of the love of a sport that creates enduring, consistent and reliable revenue streams. So how do you create die-hard fans, and not fair weather ones? The Knights certainly know the recipe. Step one, patch together a self-proclaimed band of rough-and-tumble misfits to mirror a town of misfits; step two, capture the heart of said town by embedding themselves in the community, and supporting its people post-Oct 1; and step three, bring the spectacle of entertainment found on the Strip into the game. Yes, of course, having a winning team is great, and sure, having the Lombardi or Stanley Cup reside in Vegas would bolster fans, but, we can’t all go to the championships our debut season. Taking your head out the clouds and ensuring seats are filled and ticket prices are up, there has to be more to compete with all the other things people can be doing on a Sunday. This is how the Knights have succeeded. Who needs to buy tickets to Blue Man Group, when you can see them at the game? The Knights’ professionally produced intro, light shows, pyrotechnics and celebrity sightings, all brought into one place, make for an exciting night.
This intersection of sports and entertainment is what makes Vegas different, among other things. As a longtime resident, but also an entertainment and intellectual property lawyer trained to draft contracts and protect clients’ creativity, this rising of tides, where more and more sports and entertainment flood the market, has been amazing to witness firsthand. And, I, for one, am rooting for them all to succeed. Needless to say, more teams, athletes and entertainers living and doing business in Vegas means more work for me and other attorneys. Someone has to be tasked with the arduous job of negotiating endorsement deals for athletes, and registering the logos of world renowned sports leagues; that would be me. Obviously, hotel and tourism businesses get a lift from the influx of more out of town fans, of course restaurants and bars as well, when the game is on, and thankfully real estate has also gotten and should continue to get a lift. Property values surrounding the new Raiders training facility and City National arena steadily increase, for one, and more construction means more jobs, and means more homes for more people, as well.
The impact of sports on everyday businesses is more pervasive still. If I were to open my timesheets, you’d see an uptick in discussions with clients in how they can creatively capture the additional revenue created by newly minted sports fans and out of town fans, alike. Companies that organize bachelor parties on the Strip, now offering to arrange travel to and from a hockey game at T-Mobile, one night, followed by brunch at Top Golf and an evening Aviators game, the next day.
Rising tides do indeed lift all boats. Thank you, Knights. Welcome Raiders. UFC, you’ll always be my first.
Jennifer Ko Craft is a member partner in Dickinson Wright’s Las Vegas office. She focuses her practice in intellectual property and sports and entertainment law. Jennifer consults with clients in identifying various protectable aspects of the clients’ products, services and concepts, and in developing and managing their intellectual property portfolios. In addition, Jennifer drafts and negotiates a variety of agreements in the entertainment field such as assignments, licenses, rights of publicity agreements, non-disclosure agreements, personal management agreements and work for hire agreements, including recording, publishing and production agreements.
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