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NASCAR Teams Retain Top Antitrust Lawyer Amid Revenue Dispute

 |  February 19, 2024

In a significant development in the ongoing dispute between NASCAR teams and the stock car series, it has been revealed that the teams have enlisted the services of Jeffrey Kessler, a renowned antitrust and sports lawyer. The decision to bring Kessler on board underscores the escalating tensions between the teams and NASCAR regarding a proposed new revenue-sharing model, reported AP.

The announcement of Kessler’s hiring came after a pivotal meeting at Daytona International Speedway, attended by the majority owners of the 15 chartered teams in NASCAR. Despite extending invitations to NASCAR representatives, none were present at the meeting, indicating a growing gulf between the two parties.

The negotiating committee, comprising five team owners, disclosed the hiring of Jeffrey Kessler to The Associated Press on the eve of the rain-postponed Daytona 500. This move follows a breakdown in negotiations between the teams and NASCAR, culminating in the 36 chartered teams opting not to extend their exclusive negotiating window with the sanctioning body.

At the heart of the dispute lies the expiration of the current charter agreement at the end of the season. Two years of discussions between the teams and NASCAR have reached an impasse, exacerbated by NASCAR’s simultaneous negotiations for a lucrative $7.7 billion television rights deal announced in December.

NASCAR’s economic proposal to the teams, which arrived shortly after the TV rights announcement, was met with dissatisfaction due to its lack of flexibility. According to reports, the offer provided no room for the teams to negotiate or counter, further straining relations between the parties.

Jeffrey Kessler, partner and co-executive chair of Winston & Strawn LLP, brings a wealth of experience to the table, particularly in antitrust matters within the realm of professional sports. His involvement signals the teams’ determination to address what they perceive as unfair treatment in the negotiations with NASCAR.

The hiring of Kessler underscores the seriousness of the situation and suggests that the teams are preparing for potential legal action if a resolution cannot be reached through negotiation.

Source: AP News