Peter Zern

Peter Zern

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Covington & Burling LLP
One CityCenter
850 Tenth Street, NW
Washington, DC 20001-4956
Tel: +1 202 662 5679




  • Georgetown University Law Center, J.D., 1998
    • magna cum laude
    • Order of the Coif
  • Dartmouth College, A.B., 1995

Bar Admissions

  • District of Columbia

Peter Zern is a partner in the firm’s corporate group, whose practice focuses on mergers and acquisitions and finance transactions, with a particular focus on transactions within the sports industry. His sports practice includes representation of sports leagues, teams and other industry participants in a range of M&A, finance, media rights, sponsorship and commercial transactions.

Mr. Zern represents many of the firm’s sports clients on a wide variety of matters, including Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association, the National Football League, the National Hockey League, the Ultimate Fighting Championship, the American Athletic Conference, the Atlantic 10 Conference and the US Olympic Committee.

In addition to sports industry transactions, Mr. Zern has significant experience in negotiating and structuring debt and equity financings and mergers and acquisitions outside of the sports industry.

Representative Matters

  • Represented Christopher Cohan in connection with the sale of the Golden State Warriors NBA franchise for a then record-breaking $450 million purchase price, and represented a number of others in acquisitions of interests in professional sports franchises.
  • Represented the National Football League in connection with various league and team financings, including its league-wide term note and revolving credit facility programs and in its “G-3” and “G-4” stadium funding programs.
  • Represented the American Athletic Conference (and previously, the Big East Conference) in all of its matters including its media rights, commercial and membership matters (including conference realignment and NCAA issues).
  • Represented Major League Baseball in the launch of The MLB Network, including the negotiation of joint venture arrangements with distributors for ownership of the channel, represented the National Hockey League in negotiation of joint venture arrangements for the NHL Network, and represent a number of other independent programmers in their carriage negotiations.
  • Represented Turner Sports in connection with its 14-year television and new media rights agreement with the NCAA and CBS Sports for the Division I Men's Basketball Championship.

Honors and Rankings

  • Chambers USA, Sports Law (2008-2015)
  • Best Lawyers in America, "Washington Sports Lawyer of the Year" (2014, 2016)
  • Best Lawyers in America (2012-2016)
  • LawDragon 500 Leading Lawyers (2013-14)
  • Law360, Rising Stars (2013)
  • Legal 500 US, Sports (2014-2015) and M&A/Corporate and Commercial (2015)  
  • Washington DC Super Lawyers, Entertainment & Sports (2014)
  • Washington DC Super Lawyers, "Rising Star" (2013)
  • SportsBusiness Journal
    • Forty Under 40 Hall of Fame (2012)
    • Forty Under 40 (2008-2009, 2012)
  • Washington Business Journal, 40 Under 40 (2010)

Pro Bono

  • Representation of an Independent Advisory Committee, chaired by former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue, in connection with its examination and recommendations regarding the governance of the US Olympic Committee.
  • Representation of the Washington, DC Humane Society

Publications and Speeches

  • "Launching a Single Sport Cable Network," SportBusiness International (04/2009), Co-Author
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