Latham & Watkins has hired sports and entertainment partner Frank Saviano from Proskauer, a firm often tapped by big clients in the sports and entertainment industries.
New York-based Saviano had been involved in transactions valued at nearly $20 billion at Proskauer, where he made partner in 2017 and was held out at the time as the only partner in that group under 40.
“This is an exciting culmination of my career so far,” Saviano said in an interview. “I’ve worked hard to build a practice and reputation in the sports industry and I’m excited to bring that to a firm like Latham that has unmatched global reach, reputation and resources and a commitment to entertainment, sports and media.”
Proskauer’s nearly 50-lawyer sports group is led by Joe Leccese, whose nine-year run as firm chair expired in January when private credit partner Steven Ellis took the reins. Proskauer’s sports group is ranked Band 1 by Chambers & Partners, which categorizes firm practice groups based on submissions, client feedback and Chambers’ own research.
Saviano has earned a slew of industry awards, and Leccese has heaped praise on him, calling Saviano “one of the leaders in his generation of partners generally, not just in the sports group,” in a report by Sports Business Daily.
Saviano and Leccese in 2018 co-led the firm’s representation of the Carolina Panthers ownership in its sale to private equity billionaire David Tepper. Saviano also teamed with Leccese to represent long-time firm client the Big East in June when it announced the University of Connecticut would be rejoining the conference.
Saviano has been involved in a number of media rights negotiations involving sports teams and leagues, including the Big East, the Pac-12 Conference, and the NBA’s Orlando Magic and Detroit Pistons.
Saviano represented the U.S. Golf Association this summer in the transfer of its TV rights from Fox Sports to NBC Universal, where golf fans watched Bryson DeChambeau win the U.S. Open at Winged Foot last month. NBC will air the major championship through 2026.
“We want to thank Frank for his service to our firm and wish him the very best in the future,” a Proskauer spokesman said in a statement.
Latham’s spots and entertainment group, led by Los Angeles-based partner Joseph Calabrese, is ranked Band 2 by Chambers, which is equivalent to a top-six ranking. The firm has represented clients including the U.S. Soccer Federation and the NFL Players Association.