Contracts Headline Sports Law

Miami Heat Not Feeling “Favored” By Clear Channel Broadcasting

While Miami Heat fans are still wondering whether the team made a good decision by signing Jerry Stackhouse after Mike Miller had surgery to repair a broken thumb, the team has its own concerns in a legal matter off the court.  The Miami Heat filed a legal action against Clear Channel Broadcasting, claiming that Clear Channel is breaching its radio coverage contract with the Heat.

In the contract with Clear Channel, the Heat have a “most favored nation” clause, which is basically a provision that guarantees the Miami Heat the same terms that any other entity in a similar agreement with Clear Channel would get.  But Clear Channel has said that on October 31, when the Miami Heat and Miami Dolphins are scheduled to play at the same time, its radio broadcast will cover the Dolphins game.

The agreement between Clear Channel and the Heat supposedly says that if another Florida sports team enters into a rights agreement with Clear Channel, the Miami Heat may receive an equivalent package.

The lawsuit filed by the Miami Heat includes counts for breach of contract and good faith and fair dealing, and the team is seeking unspecified compensatory damages.  Besides the particular issue of Clear Channel favoring a Dolphins broadcast over a same time Heat broadcast, the Miami Heat bring up Clear Channel’s other special considerations made to the Dolphins, which were not also offered to the Miami Heat.