While the nation and the world react to the victory of President-elect Donald Trump and theorize what his impending presidency will mean for national policy, the world of sports is not immune from similar meditation.

The international nature of professional and collegiate sports has continued to grow during the early portion of this millennium and the momentum from international events such as NFL contests in London, NBA games, and NCAA contests in China and potential Major League Baseball contests in Cuba and Mexico might be affected by a Trump presidency.

As world leaders react to the new order in American politics, numerous international events and the awarding of the cities to host those events are under consideration.

The early portion of the Trump presidency and its initial policy decisions on immigration issues and the proposed revamping of trade policy could directly affect the International Olympic Committee’s decision the United States’ bid to host the 2024 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.

While the bid is receiving strong competition from rival Paris, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has acknowledged that IOC members have concerns about Trump. Garcetti stated, “An America that turns inward,…isn’t good for world peace, isn’t good for progress and isn’t good for all of us.” The 2024 Olympic Games decision will be made in September 2017.

The awarding of the 2026 World Cup for soccer is also approaching. While FIFA, the international governing body, has discussed potential expansion of the World Cup competition to 40 or 48 countries, many have stated that the United States either may host or co-host the event with Canada or Mexico. Will President-elect Trump’s campaign pledge to erect a wall along the U.S.- Mexico border and deport illegal immigrants affect international relations? Will FIFA’s leadership to avoid potential international reaction to awarding the United States the event? The President-elect said on election night, “We [the United States] will get along with all other countries, willing to get along with us.”

Additionally, President-elect Trump’s forthcoming trade initiatives may also affect professional sports leagues and their franchises.

Will President-elect Trump revoke many of the trade agreements that exist under the current administration? Will he enact severe tariffs on internationally manufactured goods that are imported in the United States? The answers could directly affect the global ambitions of the NFL, the NBA, and Major League Baseball.

While the commissioners of these major American sports have plans for the expansion of their sports overseas, with potential international franchises and more international games being held in cities such as London, Barcelona, Mexico City, Berlin and Shanghai, the potential imposition of proposed 45% tariffs affect how willing the international community would allow United States professional sports franchises to benefit at their expense.

Like the world’s leaders, the world of sports is waiting to see what impact a Trump presidency will have on their future goals and objectives.



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Photo of Gregg E. Clifton Gregg E. Clifton

Gregg E. Clifton is a Principal in the Phoenix, Arizona, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. He is Co-Leader of the Collegiate and Professional Sports Practice Group and serves as the editor of the firm’s sports law blog.

Mr. Clifton has extensive experience in…

Gregg E. Clifton is a Principal in the Phoenix, Arizona, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. He is Co-Leader of the Collegiate and Professional Sports Practice Group and serves as the editor of the firm’s sports law blog.

Mr. Clifton has extensive experience in the collegiate and professional sports world. He has advised numerous professional franchises on general labor and employment issues, including Title III ADA regulatory compliance and wage and hour issues. He serves as lead counsel for several Major League Baseball teams in their salary arbitration matters and has represented NCAA and NAIA collegiate clients regarding rules compliance, investigatory matters and in disciplinary hearings. In addition, he has handled Title IX investigations and compliance issues for NCAA and NAIA member institutions. Mr. Clifton has also worked extensively in the area of agent regulation and enforcement in professional and college sports and regularly provides counsel on issues relating to NCAA and NAIA amateurism issues and athlete eligibility questions. He has also served as an expert witness in matters involving sports agents’ work and responsibilities, as well as athlete compensation issues.

Prior to joining Jackson Lewis, he spent six years as Chief Operating Officer and Vice President of Team Sports for Gaylord Sports Management. He also served as President of the Athlete and Entertainment Division for famed sports attorney Bob Woolf’s firm, Woolf Associates, in Boston.

Mr. Clifton began his career as an Associate at Jackson Lewis where he focused his practice on traditional labor law. He continues to counsel clients in the areas of collective bargaining negotiations, representation cases, arbitrations and National Labor Relations Board matters.

Mr. Clifton frequently serves as an expert speaker to law schools, including Harvard University, Boston College, Hofstra University and Arizona State University, and bar associations regarding sports law issues, including agent regulation and salary arbitration. He is also often cited as an expert source in national news media for his commentary and opinion on legal issues in sports.