Weekly Column: NIL and TV Rights Growth will Shake Sports Landscape

In his capacity as a Columnist for California Sports Lawyer®, Founder and Managing Attorney Jeremy Evans has written a column about the continuous changes to NIL policy, rules, and laws along with the growth of sports streaming and television broadcast rights.     

You can read the full column below.


The state legislature in the Commonwealth of Virginia has passed sweeping legislation, signed by Governor Glenn Youngkin (R-VA) that could have a significant ripple effect across the halls of lawmakers in the United States. The effective date for the legislation follows the first name, image, and likeness (“NIL”) legislation in California and Florida that began on July 1, 2021, with an effective date being July 1, 2024. The legislation will allow universities in the state to pay college athletes directly. The legislation follows a court case in the Southeast brought by the Tennessee and Virginia attorneys general that forbid restrictions on NIL payments to college athletes.

From a competitive standpoint, universities in the forty-nine other states or at least those with significant investment in college athletics will likely move towards similar legislation so that schools within their borders can compete beyond their borders. Since the NCAA has its hands tied with court cases and calls for unionization, it is unlikely to make a challenge to such legislation similar to its reaction to the initial “Fair Pay to Play Act” in California and in other states. In other words, the confusion and competitiveness around NIL just turned up in temperature.

Meanwhile, Apple is in talks to be the first streamer or television company to purchase the entire package of FIFA rights to the Club World Cup that debuts in the summer of 2025. Generally, these type of rights tournament rights are divided up between multiple bidders. The negotiation period on the calendar mirrors that of the National Basketball Association (“NBA”) that could include Warner Bros. Discovery, Amazon, Apple, Disney, NBC, Google, and possibly Netflix (for the in-season tournament portion). Netflix is set to break streaming records with its exclusive streaming of the Jake Paul v. Mike Tyson boxing bout this summer. Lastly, while conference realignment continues with university additions to the Big Ten, Big 12, SEC, and Clemson University and Florida State University looking to leave the ACC (likely for the SEC), the value of television and streaming rights will only grow and cause further distinction between the athletes and the universities with funding for NIL programs and payments.

The sports landscape shake-up is also seeing massive growth in the western United States with the Las Vegas Athletics and new National Hockey League (“NHL”) franchise in Salt Lake City, Utah. The Seattle Kraken (NHL) and expansion franchises in MLB, WNBA, NWSL, and NBA are all likely to see opportunities for growth in western American cities. We are on the precipice of changes in the sports landscape that is likely to grow faster than the laws, rules, and structures that govern them. It is both the best and worst of times, depending on who you ask.


About Jeremy M. Evans:

Jeremy M. Evans is the Chief Entrepreneur Officer, Founder & Managing Attorney at California Sports Lawyer®, representing entertainment, media, and sports clients in contractual, intellectual property, and dealmaking matters. Evans is an award-winning attorney and industry leader based in Los Angeles and Newport Beach, California. He can be reached at Jeremy@CSLlegal.com. www.CSLlegal.com.  

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Jeremy M. Evans is the CEO, Founder & Managing Attorney of California Sports Lawyer® representing entertainment, media, and sports clients and is licensed to practice law in California.