The COVID-19 pandemic impacted professional and amateur sports in profound ways. The Olympics were postponed; Wimbledon was canceled. The NBA and NHL games were played in “bubbles” without audiences. Athletes and coaches tested positive. The economic losses for some sports and sporting events were staggering as gate revenues and stadium sales dropped to a more trickle of the past. Franchise sales and valuations dropped for a number of teams. The legal effects have begun to be felt, with issues of force majeure, the impossibility of performance, future risk management and liability, and the enforceability of sponsorship agreements, and labor agreements and their modification, to name a few.
This program will describe the effects of COVID on the operation of a number of sports organizations and the effectiveness of force majeure clauses and the need for future legal protections if there is such a pandemic in the future. It will then discuss the cancellation of matches, the safety rights of college and professional athletes, how the professional sports leagues attempted to restructure their contractual obligation, and health and safety questions surrounding testing.
Presented by Professor Mark Conrad, this program will benefit attorneys who practice risk management, personal injury, sports governance, and contracts.
Review how COVID-19 spread among teams and what sports leagues/organizations did to control the spread
Discuss contractual issues and interpretation of force majeure clauses in the context of sports events
Predict how sports leagues and other entities will present matches and protect athletes and the public spectators
Determine the course of labor and collective bargaining in the COVID era
Consider when sports as we knew it will come back
Mark Conrad is Associate Professor of Law and Ethics at Fordham University’s Gabelli School of Business, where he directs its sports business concentration. In addition to teaching sports law, he has also taught courses covering contracts, business organizations, and media law.
Professor Conrad’s books and articles have appeared in academic, legal and general circulation publications. His book “The Business of Sports -- Off the Field, In the Office, On the News,” (Routledge/Taylor and Francis, 2017) has been cited in leading journals as one of the most comprehensive texts on the subject. He has also published in numerous academic and non-academic journals on various sports law topics, including governance issues, intellectual property, collegiate and international issues. His current research focuses on a new governance structure for track and field, both in the U.S. and abroad.
In addition to his full-time responsibilities at Fordham, Professor Conrad has served as an adjunct professor at Columbia University’s master’s program in Sports Management, St. John’s University School of Law and New York Law School. He has lectured at Northwestern University’s campus on Doha, Qatar and has appeared on panels and symposia at Harvard Law School, Duke University School of Law, the University of Virginia School of Law, as well the law schools of Fordham, Pace, Hofstra, DePaul and Arizona State Universities.
Professor Conrad has been quoted in journals such as the New York Times, Boston Globe, and Chicago Tribune and has appeared on CNN, WCBS-TV, Fox5 NY, Bloomberg TV and i24News.
Professor Conrad received his B.A. from City College of New York and his J.D. from New York Law School. After receiving his law degree, he earned an M.S. from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. He is a member of the New York and District of Columbia bars and resides in New York City.
You may follow him on Twitter at @Sportslaw1.