• vcard
D 816.572.4638
F 816.753.1536
  • Education
    • J.D., University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law, 1982
    • B.B.A., cum laude, University of Notre Dame, 1979
Kevin Sweeney has more than 35 years of experience leading complex financial, business, and strategic transactions for major business clients, primarily in the amateur sports and life sciences industries. He serves as a legal advisor to his client’s C-Level executives and boards of directors, providing business-oriented advice backed-up by deep industry contacts and knowledge as an integral part of helping his clients achieve their business, financial, and strategic goals.    
 
Sports Industry Practice

Since the mid- 1980s, Kevin has advised major collegiate sports conferences and other organizations in the sports industry, helping guide the legal strategy for amateur sports in the US. As Chair of Polsinelli’s Sports Industry Group, he has assisted conferences through:
  • Formation
  • Negotiation of billions of dollars of media agreements
  • Threats and opportunities of conference realignment
  • Ongoing redefinition of the relationship between the NCAA and its members 
  • Legal challenges to the amateur sports model, including antitrust, NLRA, FLSA, personal injury, athlete “name, image, and likeness” rights, nonprofit taxation, and federal and state public policy fronts
Kevin also has represented a number of post-season collegiate football bowl games in their formation, operation, and sale; a national high school sports organization in the formation and financing of the first national digital outlet for disturbing of telecasts high school championship sporting events; and several sports entities in managing their executive search and CEO transition processes and negotiations. 

Using his broad and deep long-time contacts in the sports industry to keep abreast of breaking developments, Kevin routinely coordinates with legal counsel of other conferences and universities, and is a frequent speaker at national sports conferences, including the annual Sports Lawyers Association convention.

The complex legal issues raised by his clients’ sports businesses require Kevin to coordinate with firm attorneys across many other disciplines, including complex antitrust, personal injury, and labor and employment litigators (including in complex MDL and class actions), intellectual property rights, nonprofit tax, federal and state public policy legislative initiatives, real estate development, insurance, governmental and internal investigation, and corporate finance and transactional matters.

Life Science Industry Practice

Kevin also represents emerging, growth and established for-profit companies and nonprofit entities in the life science industry, primarily in human health and animal health areas, including medical devices, drugs and therapeutics, and diagnostics. His provides strategic and proactive “life cycle” advise to life science clients related to optimizing corporate structures, throughout their early stage, institutional venture capital financing, and growth equity and debt financing stages, to their “exit” transactions, including merger and acquisition, joint venture, and licensing transactions and preparing companies for IPOs.

He maintains his deep industry contacts by serving on a number of boards and organizations in the life science community, including his current role as Chair of the Board of BioKanas, the national BIO affiliate in the state of Kansas (for which he has also served as chair of its Public Policy committee among other roles).

Chambers USA, the world's leading guide to the legal profession, has included Kevin in its rankings for the past several years, most recently in 2011. In interviews with clients during research for the rankings, the following remarks were made regarding Kevin's work at the firm:
  • "Sources say he is 'bright, intelligent and leaves no stone unturned when dealing with large, complex transactions.'"
  • "Sources praise 'the ease and speed in which he identifies core issues.'"
  • "An impressive negotiator who is said to 'always strive to get the best outcome for his clients.'"
  • "Clients have been effusive in their praise of Kevin Sweeney, lauding him as 'superior on strategy' and a formidable force around the negotiating table."
  • "His work is described as 'very focused and detail-oriented,' yet retaining 'an uncanny creativity.'"
Sports Industry 
  • Representation of a number of collegiate sports organizations in structuring and negotiation of numerous long-term telecast and linear and digital media rights distribution agreements with major national sports broadcasters involving billions of dollars of aggregate rights fees
  • Represented collegiate conferences in transitioning the Conference membership of over 20 universities, including resolution of numerous issues including “withdrawal fee” claims
  • Formation and negotiation of complex operating and venture capital financial structure of first national digital-based distribution outlet for championship high school sports content on a nationwide basis
  • Negotiation of numerous venue, sponsorship, game and other agreements relating to amateur championship sporting events
  • Strategic litigation management over past 20+ years of defense of significant class action matters, including antitrust litigation over CFA and NCAA rules, including NCAA v Board of Regents, Law, O’Bannon, Marshall, Arrington, “Same Sport/Same School” Concussion litigation, and numerous others.
  • Led successful resolution of a mediated contract dispute between a collegiate conference and a major media distribution company
  • Coordination with national executive search firms of searches for major sports executives and negotiation of numerous Employment and Agreements for Conference Commissioners, Athletic Directors, and Coaches and structuring and documentation of complex Deferred Compensation Agreements 
  • Led internal investigations of legal issues involving amateur sports organizations
  • Lead strategic initiatives on managing and lobbying on state public policy issues involving sports, including tax credits, social legislation (LBGTQ facility access issues, gun laws in sports facilities), sport gambling, and sports facility financing and incentives
  • Developed federal public policy strategy for national collegiate sports legislation
Life Science Industry 
  • Sale of a medical device company to a national medical products distributor for over $500 million
  • With Dr. Sydney Brenner, led the development of the Molecular Sciences Industry in Berkeley, California, one of the first multidisciplinary basic scientific institutes focused on predictive biology
  • Led acquisition of a British diagnostics company by a US biothreat detection company
  • Representing a consortium of leading animal health research companies in a collaborative nonprofit scientific development joint venture
  • Develop and implement financial and operating structure for a medical device development company and two spin out technology commercialization companies
  • Managed the phased acquisition of a pandemic vaccine manufacturing facility as a joint venture project of two Japanese multinational corporations
  • Led acquisition of a French CRO by a public US cancer vaccine therapy company
  • Member of team that led representation of Marion Laboratories, Inc. in sales to Dow Chemical and then (as Marion Merrell Dow) by Hoechst AG, including leading the combination with Hoechst’s French subsidiary Roussel Uclaf S.A.
  • Leading angel and venture capital financing rounds, providing hundreds of millions of dollars of early—stage funding for numerous emerging and growth life science companies
text icon Publications & Presentations
Guest Lecturer in Sports Law
Guest Lecturer, University of Texas School of Law
Sep 01, 2017
text icon Publications & Presentations
NCAA, Conferences, and Institutions: Roles and Responsibilities in Governance
Panelist, Sports Lawyers Association 43rd Annual Conference
May 18, 2017
text icon Publications & Presentations
Briefing on Pending College Sports Antitrust Litigation
Speaker, Division 1 Athletic Directors Conference - Dallas, Texas
November, 2016
text icon Publications & Presentations
Guest Lecturer in Sports Law
Guest Lecturer, University of Oklahoma
Fall 2016
text icon Publications & Presentations
Recent Legal Developments Involving College Sports
Panelist, Kansas Bar Association, Sports Law Conference
2016
text icon Publications & Presentations
NCAA Conference Counsel Roundtable
Panelist, Sports Lawyers Association 42nd Annual Conference
May 12, 2016
text icon Publications & Presentations
Guest Lecturer in Sports Law
Guest Lecturer, University of Nebraska - Lincoln
Fall 2015
text icon Publications & Presentations
March 13, 2015
eAlerts Alerts
December 17, 2013
eAlerts Alerts
December 11, 2013
Related News