Industry Spotlight: Ricky Volante – Sports & Entertainment Attorney

What is your role in Cleveland’s media production industry?

I wear a few hats. I am an attorney (at Buckley King) that focuses on clients in and issues related to the sport and entertainment industries. Additionally, I am working on producing content of my own, as well as acquiring original content of others. On the education and professional development side of things, I am the Executive Director of the Great Lakes Sports and Entertainment Law Academy and the Chair of the Entertainment, Sport, and Media Subcommittee of the CMBA.

What is the Great Lakes Sports and Entertainment Law Academy?

The GLSELA is an online program designed to prepare law students, other graduate students, and practicing attorneys for legal and business issues related to sport and entertainment. For those interested in learning more about the program, they can check out the website at: Cleveland has been a great city to build the Academy, as we have so many great people and organizations in sport and entertainment, and with the exclusive online transition, we now have students joining us from across the US and abroad.

At what point should talent (whether they’re actors, writers, etc.) consider hiring an attorney?

At the absolute latest, once they’re being asked to sign an agreement, enter a partnership, acquiring rights to original content, or if they just generally feel like they’re out of their depth on something. Often times, people think of lawyers once trouble arises, but a good attorney can avoid the trouble altogether.

What has surprised you most in your line of work?

The sheer number of people that claim they’re “in the business,” which is unfortunate, because it leads to people wasting precious time or worse yet being taken advantage of. But again, a good manager and/or lawyer can help avoid some of those pitfalls – as can great organizations like the GCFC.

What’s next for you, any upcoming projects?

Well, I am currently in the fundraising and talent acquisition stage for a documentary series that I’ve been working on for the past year or so, which will bring my worlds of sport and entertainment crashing together with an international flavor.

I’m also working on the Historical Basketball League, a professionalized, collegiate basketball league that would compete with the NCAA. It’s been a lot of fun, and again is a great intersection of sport and entertainment, which is where I like to find myself. Media production will end up playing a massive role for the branding of this new league, and we are looking to be exclusively aired in an OTT or online format, so it’s an exciting time in what could be a massively disruptive venture in college sports.

If you have questions, or would like to know more about Ricky’s work, he is available at 216-685-4745 or [email protected].