DWF's Australian sports law specialists have advised a US-based sports-focused private equity firm on its recent investment into a leading Australian sports brand, the National Basketball League's (NBL) Brisbane Bullets.
Jason Levien is an American sports executive and investor into multiple sports properties. He is the CEO and managing general owner of the Major League Soccer club, D.C. United, and co-owner of Swansea City AFC, a UK-based football club.
Kevin Martin is a retired professional basketball player, having played 12 seasons in the National Basketball Association (NBA). He played as a shooting guard, scoring 12,396 career points for the Sacramento Kings, Houston Rockets, Oklahoma City Thunder, Minnesota Timberwolves, and the San Antonia Spurs. Since retiring, Kevin has developed a successful career in business.
Brisbane were one of the ten NBL foundation teams, and are three-time NBL Champions, winning the Grand Finals in 1985, 1987, and 2007.
This investment into one of the NBL foundation franchises is an entry into one of the fastest growing and most professional leagues in the high-growth global sport of basketball.
DWF Australia's sports law specialist, Mathew Jessep, provided legal advice and assistance on the transaction as Australian counsel, working across from the NBL. This transaction adds to Mat's expertise in assisting US and Australian clients on cross-border sports and entertainment investments and M&A deals.
On working with DWF, Kevin Martin said: “Our faith in Mat Jessep, of DWF, to guide us through our international acquisition of the Brisbane Bullets did not disappoint. Mat displayed a will to deliver and professionalism that was first class. We were very satisfied with the services at DWF and look forward to continuing our relationship in the future.”
Mat Jessep said: "It is an exciting time for the Bullets with the team moving into a new stadium with a strong roster of quality players and continued great coaching. With that solid foundation, Brisbane Basketball USA will be working in partnership with the NBL to accelerate growth further for the team and its fans. We are pleased to have played a role in bringing such strong global sports management expertise in Kevin and Jason to the NBL and Australian sports."
Following the investment, management of the Brisbane Bullets will continue to be led by Jim Carmichael as CEO, with Kevin Martin taking the role of Managing Partner at Brisbane Bullets.
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*As of 1 February, DWF Australia became an Incorporated Legal Practice (ILP). Under this new corporate structure, the title of partner changed to principal lawyer.