Keynote Conversation: Professor Jodi Balsam & Tim Slavin

Sports Symposium

On Friday, November 11th the Brooklyn Entertainment and Sports Law Society and the Intellectual Property Law Association hosted the second annual Brooklyn Law School Sports Law Symposium. The symposium theme was “Sports Intellectual Property in a Time of Disruption” and had many students, faculty, practitioners, family and friends in attendance. The event was a great success and BESLS and IPLA are already excited for next year!

The day of panels concluded with a keynote conversation between Professor Jodi Balsam and Tim Slavin (Managing Director and Chief Legal Officer of OneTeam Partners). Tim provided great insight into his career, the work of OneTeam, and the future for athletes and sports lawyers.

Tim Slavin is the Managing Director and Chief Legal Officer of OneTeam Partners, LLC. OneTeam was formed in 2020 by the National Football League Players Association, Major League Baseball Players Association and RedBird Capital Partners. In less than three years, Redbird exited with the business valued at $1.9Billion. OneTeam has become a leading global sports licensing, marketing, media and investment company representing the commercial interests of more than 10,000 players of the NFLPA, MLBPA, MLSPA, U.S. Women’s National Team PA, WNBPA, NWSLPA, U.S. Rugby PA, and the LCSPA, as well as college athletes.

A founding executive, Tim leads various initiatives to develop existing and new revenue opportunities and manages company-wide legal matters. Prior to his current position, he was the President of MLB Players, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of the MLBPA. In that role, he guided players in their commercial relationships with Major League Baseball, licensees, sponsors, agents and other strategic partners. Tim has been recognized as a member of the Sports Business Journal’s Forty Under 40 and was also featured in a leading sports magazine as a “rising executive helping to shape the next era of baseball business.”

After discussing Tim’s impressive experiences and how he got where he is today, the conversation continued with some insight into the world of group licensing and athlete publicity rights. Given a rise in opportunities (media, merchandise, memorabilia, fan experiences, etc.), Tim highlighted how important it is that athletes have a real seat at the negotiating table. While in the past athletes were often left to focus on their sports career and were overlooked in the business world, the increased power of player unions, the work of OneTeam, and the accessibility of information has propelled athletes into a powerful role in negotiations about their rights. By providing athletes and unions with resources, uniting the goals of athletes across various leagues, and exploiting new revenue opportunities, Tim and OneTeam are not only getting athletes a seat at the table, but a substantial voice as well.

Overall, Tim explained how the increase in opportunities for athletes will also lead to opportunities for attorneys in the field. By uniting forces, embarking on creative initiatives, and understanding the evolution of the sports business, the future for athletes and sports lawyers is bright!

BESLS, IPLA and everyone in attendance would like to thank Professor Balsam and Tim Slavin for such an interesting conversation to conclude a great day of panels.

Written by: Daniel Erber
Daniel is a 2023 J.D. Candidate at Brooklyn Law School

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