The Importance of Legal Counsel to Major League Organizations

June 2, 2023
Patrick Rishe

Live sporting events continue to be at the forefront of entertainment in America year after year. Between enthused fans, good food and drinks, and anticipation for record-breaking moments, the ambiance of a stadium on a game day is unmatched.

However, behind the scenes of our beloved stadiums and sports traditions lies term sheets and contracts outlining the rights of sponsors and vendors in relation to the organization. But how vital is legal counsel to a team’s organization?

On today’s episode of Suite Talk: The Business Behind Sports, Patrick Rishe sat down with Zack Kessinger, Associate Counsel for the Texas Rangers, to discuss just that. The two dive into the many roles legal counsel of a sports team play in creating and maintaining the culture of a sports team, from all-star games to sponsorship agreements.

Rishe and Kessinger also discussed…

● Kessinger’s background with both baseball and law and how it has helped bring him to where he is today.

● The legal implications of sponsorship and vendor agreements.

● The legal action behind significant sporting events, like the MLB All-Star game.

“One of the common misconceptions I typically get from people is, ‘Oh, you must do player contracts stuff,’” Kessinger explained when asked about his primary role. However, while now and then, Kessinger will get involved in player contracts, a lot of his day-to-day tasks consist of drafting sponsorship and vendor agreements for companies who display their advertising copy and signage across the ballpark. “It’s definitely pretty cool to see your work at the stadium. If you worked on a sponsorship agreement with a certain sponsor and you see their sponsor signage on the field like, ‘Hey, I played a part in that.’”

Kessinger attended undergraduate and law school at Washington University in St. Louis. During his undergraduate career, he played on the baseball team, where he holds several records. “Baseball is a big passion of mine. My whole life has been about baseball.” Shortly after receiving his law degree, Kessinger worked in a real estate development group at Winstead PC in Dallas for about four and a half years. About two months ago, however, Kessinger combined his passions for baseball and law as an Associate Counsel for the Texas Rangers.

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