Rodeo Read Vol. 4

Photo Via Triller

A quick rundown of this past week in sports, entertainment, and law

“I’m back.” Michael Jordan famously said as he returned from his first retirement in 1995. The same goes for the Rodeo Rundown as we reintroduce ourselves into the sports, entertainment, and law world. This past week did not disappoint.

First and foremost, I would be remiss to not show respect to all the amazing people who tragically lost their lives twenty-years-ago on September 11. Every year, I watch Mike Piazza’s post 9/11 homerun and chills run through my veins.

From a day of remembrance to a moment of unbelievable headlines, Donald Trump stepped into the broadcast booth to call the Evander Holyfield versus Vitor Belfort fight on Saturday night. No this is not a headline from the early 2000’s. Although both fighters looked every bit in their prime, the fight was short lived. The 44-year-old Belfort defeated the 58-year-old Holyfield via first-round Technical Knockout. The fight, hosted by Triller, was another attempt to gain circus-like attention through retired and celebrity boxing matches.

If you are reading this, no I did not forget about America’s real favorite past-time (sorry baseball). The National Football League (“NFL”) kicked off their first week, starting Thursday with another 2000’s legendary athlete, Tom Brady, somehow still conducting last-minute comeback wins in 2021. I apologize for mentioning Brady before the Buffalo Bills (“Bills”). The Bills kicked-off their season, losing to the Pittsburg Stealers.

With that, let us get into our favorite trio: sports, entertainment, and law. 

Buffalo’s Bill Continues

It is no secret that the Bills are looking for a new stadium[1]. The current stadium lease ceases on July 31, 2023, and the Bills’ team owners, the Pegulas, are in talks with Erie County to reach an agreement to build a new stadium. The Pegulas proposed a $1.4 billion stadium to be built in an alternative area in Orchard Park.

The Pegulas are being represented by the Pegula Sports and Entertainment (“PSE”) vice president Ron Raccuia and outside counsel Scott Zolke[2]. Zolke has extensive experience as a sports and entertainment attorney, including working with the Las Vegas Golden Knights and the National Hockey League during the league’s expansion in 2017.

Erie County is using Greenberg Traurig, a large law firm originating from Miami, Florida, to help with negotiations. Taking point in negotiations is Franklin D.R. Jones, Jr.  Jones assisted the Miami Dolphins during their renovation of Hard Rock stadium in 2015.

Let us hope the two sides come to an agreement sooner rather than later.  Until then, we also hope the Bills can continue to improve on last season’s efforts.

You Bet it is Legalized

The state of sports gambling in New York State (“NYS”) is in a great place. Currently, patrons can gamble in person and legislators approved mobile sports betting earlier this year. However, exactly how mobile sports betting will operate is still unclear.

Gambling companies, such as FanDuel[3], have sent applications to NYS to be the exclusive mobile sports betting books for the state. However, whomever wins the application process can expect a tax rate around fifty percent[4]. NYS will benefit greatly from its legalization economically[5].

As far as when online betting will come into fruition, a gambling man would say sometime late this year or early 2022 — just in time for the Super Bowl.

Super-Cost for a Super Bowl Ad

Speaking of money and the Super Bowl, commercial spots during the world’s favorite sporting event are reaching catastrophic cost. Variety[6] published an article stating that Super Bowl advertisement prices are selling for as much as $6.5 million dollars per thirty-second slot, or one half of one percent of the asking price for the Bills’ new stadium.

This comes as a refreshing surprise for television networks and can be a positive sign for things to come in the entertainment world moving forward. This past Super Bowl, in February of 2020, CBS sought $5.5 million per thirty-second time slot and found advertisers reluctant, announcing only days prior to the game that they sold all the advertising time slots.

This uptick in demand is a positive sign. Theatres, live events, and other forms of entertainment are opening back up and advertisers are eager to open their wallets again. Yet, advertisers, like the rest of the world, will still be looking into hybrid options to promote their brands as we slowly enter the post pandemic world.

Epic Games (B)Eats Apple

Epic Games (“Epic”) and Apple’s legal battle[7] concluded[8]. A federal judge ruled in favor of Epic as Epic took exception to Apple’s monopoly like control over in-app purchases. The dispute

originated from Epic’s flagship game, Fortnite. Within the game, users can purchase different player customizations without utilizing Apple’s payment system, essentially cutting out the middleman — Apple. This led Apple to react how any high-profile corporation would react, by removing Fortnite from its app store. Epic responded by launching the lawsuit against Apple.

This brings us to where the lawsuit stands today, with a verdict in favor of Epic. The court held that Apple must allow users to make in app purchases. However, the court awarded Apple over $4 million in damages because Epic did not meet their burden of proof to show that Apple acted as a monopoly, thus not violating antitrust law.

Epic has appealed the court’s decision[9]. Information has not been released concerning the grounds of Epic’s appeal. Nevertheless, Epic likely took exception to the court’s decision ruling in favor of Apple not being a monopoly.

Additionally, Epic has legal battles elsewhere. Epic has an impending trial against Google, and complaints filed against Apple in other countries.

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