Photo of Jon Oram

Jon H. Oram is a partner in Proskauer’s Corporate Department and a member of the Sports Law Group. Jon has a broad-based transactional practice with an emphasis on clients in the sports industry, including teams, leagues, owners, financial institutions, corporate sponsors and private equity funds.

Since joining Proskauer, Jon has represented the National Basketball Association (NBA), the National Hockey League (NHL), Major League Baseball (MLB), Major League Soccer (MLS), the ATP Tour, the WTA Tour and various other sports leagues in their most significant transactional matters, including team ownership transfers, financings, expansions, relocations, bankruptcies and investigations. His experience includes representing MLB in connection with the Los Angeles Dodgers' television negotiations and bankruptcy proceeding, counseling MLS in its negotiations with David Beckham and its recent expansion transactions in New York, Orlando Philadelphia, Vancouver, Portland and Montreal, and advising the NBA in the formation of NBA China, L.P. and its $253 million private placement.

In addition, Jon regularly advises professional sports teams, including the Philadelphia Eagles, the New York Jets, the Jacksonville Jaguars, the New York Yankees, the San Diego Padres, the Washington Nationals and the Houston Astros in a wide array of corporate matters, including team acquisitions, secured and unsecured financings, employment contracts with coaches and other key executives, and the sale of telecast, naming rights, sponsorship, seat license, apparel, Internet and other new media rights. Recently, Jon represented an ownership group led by the O'Malley and Seidler families in their purchase of the San Diego Padres for $800 million. In 2011, he advised Jim Crane and his partners in their acquisition of the Houston Astros and Shahid Khan in his purchase of the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Over the past two decades, Jon has counseled a variety of teams, leagues and owners seeking to develop new stadiums, arenas and other sports facilities. He has worked with, among others, the Eagles with the lease and development of Lincoln Financial Field, the Jets with regard to the financing of MetLife Stadium, the New Jersey Devils in their efforts to construct and finance the Prudential Center, and NBA China in negotiations with Anschutz Entertainment Group and Oriental Pearl Group to develop and operate the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai. Jon has also advised clients on many of the largest naming rights transactions in history, including the New York Jets and Giants in their $400 million naming rights deal with MetLife and Levi Strauss & Co. in its $220 million deal to name the San Francisco 49ers new stadium in Santa Clara, California.

Jon also represents both borrowers and financial institutions, such as JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Wells Fargo, Citibank, and U.S. Bank, in financing transactions that involve teams and other sports properties. These have included the NBA's $3.4 billion league-wide credit facility, a $650 million bond issuance by an affiliate of the Jets, a $450 million senior secured credit facility to fund the acquisition of the Chicago Cubs and Wrigley Field, and a $225 million loan to the owners of the Houston Texans.

In 2012, Jon was inducted into the Sports Business Journal's Hall of Fame after being named one of the "Forty Under 40" most influential executives in the sports industry for 2008, 2009 and 2012. In 2013, he was recognized as one of the top “40 Under 40” M&A lawyers by The M&A Advisor. He has also been recognized numerous times as one of the top sports attorneys in the country by Chambers USA, which described him as "a gifted corporate lawyer with an extraordinary capacity to handle complex matters." Jon also serves on the Board of Directors of the Stanford University Athletic Department and The Bronx Defenders.

On April 11, 2019, the Internal Revenue Service (the “IRS”) issued Revenue Procedure 2019-18, creating a safe harbor that allows professional sports teams to treat trades of personnel contracts (including contracts for players, coaches and managers) and draft picks as having a zero value for determining gain or loss

On Friday, December 22, 2017, President Trump signed into law H.R. 1, the $1.5 trillion tax reform law known as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (the “Tax Reform Act”). This alert describes provisions of the Tax Reform Act that we expect will have the most significant impact and immediate effect on the sports industry. Unless otherwise noted, all proposals described below will be effective for taxable years beginning after December 31, 2017.

Over the last several days, there have been significant developments relating to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the pending tax reform legislation in Congress.[1]  On Thursday, a detailed summary of the Senate Finance Committee’s proposal was released (the “Senate Markup”),[2] and the House Ways and Means Committee voted (in a 24-16, party-line vote) to advance their bill for consideration by the full House of Representatives (the “House Bill”).[3]  This post describes provisions of the Senate Markup and House Bill that would have the most significant impact on the sports industry, including important differences between the two proposals.  Unless otherwise noted, all proposals described below would be effective for taxable years beginning after December 31, 2017.