Counsel to numerous professional sports franchises, leagues, team owners, and government bodies, Edward Ristaino is chair of Akerman’s Sports Practice and a partner in the Corporate Practice Group. Ed divides his practice between general corporate, mergers and acquisitions and sports law. He focuses on the representation of professional sports teams and sports venues, arenas and stadiums, and municipal and county governments in securing and structuring public funding for the development of sports venues, arenas, and stadiums. In his broader corporate practice, he has served as lead counsel in hundreds of mergers and acquisitions, spin-offs, and restructurings of private and public companies.
Ed’s sports experience includes numerous matters for the Miami Dolphins, Florida Panthers, the Miami Marlins and the National Football League, as well as for a number of individual sports teams, owners, and related entities. He has been involved in a number of matters relating to the acquisition, financing, operation, and equity funding of professional sports teams, including the acquisition of the Miami Dolphins, the Florida Panthers, and the Florida Marlins for H. Wayne Huizenga, and the sale of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to Malcolm Glazer, the sale of the Miami Dolphins to Stephen Ross, the sale of the Florida Marlins to John Henry, and the sale of the Florida Panthers to Alan Cohen and to Vincent Viola and Doug Cifu.
Ed has represented both teams, municipal governments, facility operators, and bond issuers in transactions relating to sports properties, including facility development and construction, facilities financings (such as the bond financing for Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida, the BB&T Center in Broward County, Florida), Marlins Park in Miami, FL, the Amway Center in Orlando, FL and the renovation of the Citrus Bowl in Orlando, FL. In addition, Ed has represented teams and team owners in connection with financings, credit facilities and loans.
In addition to his sports law practice, Ed represents operating companies, family offices, buyers, sellers, investors, special committees of boards of directors, and other stakeholders in mergers and acquisitions, spin-offs, roll-ups, corporate compliance and governance issues and public and private securities transactions.