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A new rival league to NASCAR? – NASCAR Lawyers Up for a Possible Anti-trust Battle

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It has come to light that NASCAR teams have hired one of the country’s top antitrust and sports lawyers for advice in their ongoing conflict with the family-owned stock car series over a new revenue-sharing model.

NASCAR lawyers looking for a battle

After hiring Jeffrey Kessler, partner and co-executive chair of Winston & Strawn LLP, following a Saturday meeting at Daytona International Speedway included the majority owner from each of the 15 chartered teams in NASCAR. The teams invited NASCAR representatives to attend, but none did.

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The Associated Press reported the hiring on Sunday, the eve of the rain-marred Daytona 500. It took place amidst a fallout in negotiations between teams and NASCAR that led the 36 chartered teams to decline last month to extend their exclusive negotiating window with the sanctioning body on the existing deal.

The current charter agreement will expire at the end of this season and two years of talks were stalled by NASCAR’s ongoing negotiations on a new $7.7 billion television rights deal announced in early December. NASCAR’s economic offer to the teams came shortly after but with zero room for the teams to counter.

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“We want to make a deal, we are just looking for a fair deal,” Curtis Polk, a part owner of 23XI Racing and member of the teams’ negotiating committee, told The Associated Press. “There is no give and take. We’ve been told ‘This is all there is; there is no flexibility.’ That’s not a negotiation.”

Kessler has been retained to help advise the teams in their negotiations. He recently successfully represented Division I college football and basketball players in a landmark antitrust case that led to financial stipends for athletes. He also led the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team in its fight for equal pay as well as litigations for current free agency rules in the NBA and the NFL.

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The matter between NASCAR and the race teams are far beyond revenue and charters, which are essentially a version of the franchise model that is used in almost all professional sports.

Apart from the economic and charter situation, the teams are seeking a new approach to the way NASCAR is managed. The teams insist on having a say in governance matters and aspire to establish a cooperative environment to create new revenue streams.

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Bishal Roy
Bishal Roy
Bishal has been working with several renowned publications and has generated sports content for 3+ years. He expresses insightful opinions and analysis having the expertise in writing sports news articles. He has been mainly covering US sports such as NFL, NBA, MLB and more for the website. He also writes for SportsIndiaShow and MMA India. When not writing, he will binge-watch web series.
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