IRWIN RAIJ is a partner and co-chairs Sidley’s Entertainment, Sports and Media industry group. Irwin focuses his practice on the business of sports. Irwin has handled matters involving the European Soccer Leagues, Major League Baseball (MLB), Minor League Baseball, Major League Soccer (MLS), the United Soccer League (USL), Series A, LaLiga, the National Basketball Association (NBA), the National Football League (NFL), the National Hockey League (NHL), the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL), and Formula 1 events. This includes representing clients in sports-anchored public-private partnerships for both professional and collegiate stadiums and related ancillary development, construction, and financing. His practice also includes representing both buyers and sellers of sports franchises in professional sports leagues, media rights, concessions and promotional and advertising agreements (including naming rights, merchandising, and operational agreements). Irwin also has experience handling RSN formation, sports technology counseling/ventures, stadium service agreements, ticketing arrangements, and television, radio, and media rights agreements. His clients include individuals, leagues, teams, universities, financial institutions, and local and state government.
Irwin has received a variety of awards for his experience in sports law and business. Chambers USA has recognized him for sports law since 2014. Irwin was selected as one of Sports Business Journal’s “Power Players: Sports Lawyers & Outside Counsel” in 2016 and 2021. He was recognized by The Legal 500 US for his work in sports law in 2010 and 2014 – 2021, and for media and entertainment law in 2018. Who’s Who Legal: Sports and Entertainment also recognized Irwin in 2015 and 2018 – 2019. Law360 named Irwin a “Sports & Betting MVP” in 2022 and a “Sports MVP” in 2018. In 2011, Irwin was named in the Sports Business Journal Daily’s “40 Under 40” list.
Irwin’s other recognitions include being named one of The American Lawyer’s “Dealmakers of the Year” in 2019 and as a “Dealmaker” in Variety’s Dealmakers Elite: New York in 2017 and 2018. He was also recognized by the South Florida Daily Business Review as the 2012 “Top Dealmaker of the Year” in the Corporate Domestic category, and by the Washingtonian’s list of “Washington’s Top Lawyers” in 2011 and 2013.
Prior to joining Sidley, he was a partner at another international law firm, where he served as the co-chair for its Entertainment Sports and Media industry team. Irwin also served as assistant counsel to the Gore/Lieberman presidential campaign, where he was responsible for compliance with Federal Election Commission regulations, drafting committee contracts and leases, conducting research, and providing other legal guidance. He also served as an attorney in the White House Office of Counsel to the President and later as associate counsel in the White House Office of Counsel to the Vice President. Irwin started his legal career as an adviser for the Department of Housing & Urban Development, and returned to that Department to serve as special assistant in the office of the general counsel and as acting managing attorney for the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Department.