NASCAR teams hire antitrust lawyer Jeffrey Kessler amid revenue-sharing dispute

NASCAR teams hire antitrust lawyer Jeffrey Kessler amid revenue-sharing dispute

NASCAR teams have enlisted the services of antitrust lawyer Jeffrey Kessler for legal advice as the specifics of a new revenue-sharing plan are still up for debate.

The NASCAR Cup Series teams have enlisted antitrust lawyer Jeffrey Kessler to represent them in revenue-sharing negotiations as he ranks as one of the best antitrust lawyers in the country who has gained notoriety for his work on NIL and employment status in the NCAA.

Kessler also serves as co-executive chair and partner at Winston & Strawn LLP. The U.S. Women’s National soccer team’s battle for equal pay was one of his most recent sports-related ventures.

Kessler’s hiring was announced on Sunday night by the Associated Press after NASCAR team owners met earlier in the day following the postponement of the 66th running of Daytona 500 until Monday afternoon. The teams sent out invitations to NASCAR representatives, but none showed up.

The decision to hire Kessler was made after the 36 chartered teams declined last month to extend their exclusive bargaining window with the sanctioning body on the current deal due to a breakdown in negotiations between the teams and NASCAR.

So far, Kessler’s primary role has been to support and counsel the teams during their negotiations. However, it appears that NASCAR has ceased to correspond with the committee and is now attempting to communicate with individual race teams, implying that the conflicts between the organization and the racing teams go much beyond finances and charters.

According to Associated press, the race teams want a new paradigm for how NASCAR is governed, above and beyond the finances and charter problem.

The teams want to foster a collaborative environment in order to generate new revenue prospects, as they are adamant about being given a voice in governance. The teams don’t want to lose out on any possible revenues as NASCAR keeps expanding into the legal gambling market.

Curtis Polk, an investor in 23XI Racing, longtime business manager for Michael Jordan, and representative on the Team Owner Council, told the Associated Press what the goal of this is in the minds of the owners.

“We want to make a deal, we are just looking for a fair deal,” Polk said. “There is no give and take.

“We’ve been told ‘There is all there is; there is no flexibility.’ That’s not a negotiation.”

The negotiation team stated that there is currently no thought being given to holding races at non-NASCAR venues without NASCAR control, nor has there been any discussion of starting a breakaway league that is not governed by NASCAR.

NASCAR has a great deal of the negotiating power in these talks as they own most of the racetracks and are the official sanctioning organization and brand. Conversely, teams have their unique brands, skilled drivers, and cars stored in their garages.

Still, NASCAR has the lion’s share of the leverage. JGR driver and owner of 23XI Racing Denny Hamlin who has become quite vocal in NASCAR claims that this has created a monopoly as a result.

“I think that this whole thing is such a monopoly that you kind of get shut down in different areas, you’re allowed in some places, but not in others,” he said.

It appears that these talks between NASCAR and the teams, who have different opinions on the issue, will continue for some time.

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