The XFL, whose third try at a non-NFL soccer league debuts in February, has employed veteran sports activities lawyer Wendy Bass as its chief enterprise and authorized officer.
Bass spent the previous two years as senior vice chairman of programming and rights administration for NBC Sports activities Group. She oversaw acquisitions and programming and managed digital media technique and partnerships.
On the XFL, Bass will lead the authorized, folks operations and know-how departments. The league introduced the hiring in a Nov. 29 assertion. Bass mentioned by way of electronic mail that the brand new league is working with Latham & Watkins on media contracts, Quarles & Brady on trademark issues and Rochester, NY-based Woods Oviatt Gilman on different issues.
The XFL was bought for $15 million out of chapter in 2020 to an possession group led by actor and entrepreneur Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. RedBird Capital Companions LLC accomplice Gerald Cardinale.
Previously managed by skilled wrestling mogul Vince McMahon, the XFL filed for Chapter 11 safety in April 2020 after the coronavirus pandemic pressured the upstart league to cancel its season after simply 5 video games.
The relaunched XFL final month accomplished a preliminary participant draft for its eight groups situated in Washington, St. Louis, Seattle, San Antonio, Orlando, Las Vegas, Houston and Arlington, Texas close to Dallas. The league is headquartered in Arlington.
Earlier this yr, the XFL finalized a partnership with the NFL on knowledge sharing and soccer analysis. The league, certainly one of a number of notable RedBird Cardinals sports activities investments, has a broadcast rights cope with Walt Disney Co.-owned ESPN.
Bass mentioned she was drawn to the XFL by Kevin LaForce, a former NFL govt who joined RedBird final yr as managing director and head of the personal fairness agency’s sports activities and media companies. LaForce, who labored with Bass when he was within the NFL and she or he at broadcast accomplice NBC, reached out in regards to the alternative, Bass mentioned.
The XFL mentioned Bass studies to its president Russ Brandon, the brother of Gregg Brandon, who till just lately was common counsel for the NFL’s Buffalo Payments. Russ Brandon was additionally as soon as president and CEO of the Payments, whose former common supervisor Doug Whaley is the XFL’s prime personnel govt.
Bass joined NBC in 2005 after being an affiliate at Cahill Gordon & Reindel in New York. She continued to work with the regulation agency in later years, negotiating media rights offers for main sporting occasions, together with the Olympics, the PGA Tour, Wimbledon and the Kentucky Derby. Gary Zenkel, govt director of NBC Sports activities and president of the community’s Olympic enterprise, is a former affiliate of Cahill Gordon.
McMahon’s authentic imaginative and prescient of the XFL was created in partnership with NBC Sports activities, the Stamford, Conn.-based sports activities programming division of NBCUniversal Media LLC, a media and leisure conglomerate owned by cable big Comcast Corp.
A handful of legal professionals performed key roles in McMahon’s XFL, which loved success in tv and in-stadium attendance earlier than the pandemic shutdown recreation. McMahon’s preliminary XFL debut in 2001 lasted just a few months earlier than he and NBC pulled the plug.
A number of former XFL attorneys have moved on to new positions. Mali Friedman, whom the McMahon-led league employed to succeed former common counsel Roxanne Kosarzycki, was named the highest lawyer for the NFL’s Washington commanders final January.
John Wilson, a Okay&L Gates accomplice in sports activities regulation and know-how transactions who stepped in because the XFL’s interim common counsel when Friedman went on maternity go away earlier than the league’s pandemic-induced insolvency, mentioned he’s not advising various soccer staff. He wished the league one of the best in its subsequent iteration.
Alec Scheiner, former common counsel of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys, now serves as a sports activities and media funding accomplice at RedBird. Final yr, RedBird employed Michael Chiaravalloti, a former JPMorgan Chase & Co. personal financial institution managing director, to be its chief compliance officer and in-house counsel.
RedBird was suggested on the XFL acquisition by Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson. Sidley Austin represented Johnson’s camp within the deal, which closed in late 2020.
Final June, McMahon settled a long-running wrongful-termination dispute with former XFL commissioner turned athletic director Oliver Luck, shortly after McMahon stepped down as CEO of World Wrestling Leisure Inc.
Luck, a former affiliate at what’s now Norton Rose Fulbright, sought practically $24 million in wage below a contract that McMahon needed to void by firing him for trigger after the XFL suspended play in two years in the past.