Sports Investment in Italy
Dykema Gossett represented in 1999 the first U.S. purchaser of a professional ("A1 Division") basketball franchise in Italy, and in the subsequent sale of a portion of the same franchise to Kobe Bryant, of the Los Angeles Lakers.
Our client purchased Olimpia Milano, a franchise which over 63 years is the winningest in Italy.
The purchase - and subsequent part sale to Mr. Bryant - was widely covered in the U.S. and Italian business press. The transaction represented not only the first such investment by a U.S. company, but the first by an active NBA player. Its significance is linked to a worldwide trend of linking sports and business marketing, and to the potential growth worldwide for basketball.
Along with our affiliate Italian counsel, Alessandro Albicini of Bologna, we assisted in the corporate and tax aspects of planning, structuring and coordinating the different legal systems, under the umbrella of the U.S.-Italy tax treaty.
It is expected that other Italian franchises will come available to international investors as the league moves toward European consolidation and toward a possible Euro league.