SBJ/20100308/Forty Under 40

Chris Brearton


Chris Brearton abides by a simple axiom: Swim your own race. The philosophy, rooted in his years on the University of Georgia swim team, has come in handy as the attorneys at O’Melveny & Myers gradually expand the firm’s sports practice.

O’Melveny & Myers

Brearton began working with his first major sports client in 2003 when the International Olympic Committee asked O'Melveny to assist it with U.S.
television rights negotiations. Since then, O'Melveny has expanded its role with the IOC to work on all rights worldwide and added clients including the San Francisco Giants, the San Diego Padres, the Arizona Diamondbacks and Univision’s license for the 2010 and 2014 World Cup.

“Chris has really put a lot of effort into our sports push,” said Joe Calabrese, O’Melveny & Myers senior partner. “He really has grabbed this practice and said, ‘Let’s make something of it.’”

Age: 39
Title: Partner
Company: OMelveny & Myers LLP
Education: BBA, accounting, University of Georgia, 1992; J.D., University of Virginia School of Law, 1998
Family: Wife, Jenny; sons Jack (7) and Beau (5)
Career: Accountant, KPMG, 1992-1995; joined OMelveny & Myers in 1998; named partner in 2006; named managing partner of the Century City Office in 2009
Last vacation: Skiing with the family in Whistler, Canada
Favorite books: "Rome 1960," by David Maraniss; John Grisham novels as a guilty pleasure
Favorite movies: "Gladiator" and "Wall Street"; "Brians Song" is a favorite in the sports genre.
What’s on your iPod? Vampire Weekend, Coldplay and, of course, lots of R.E.M. from my college days in Athens
Pet peeve: People who identify the problems but not the solutions
Greatest achievements: My upcoming 15-year wedding anniversary, and turning my two sons into huge Georgia football fans despite our California address
Greatest disappointment: My sister-in-law choosing to attend Georgia Tech
Fantasy job: Athletic director, University of Georgia (unfortunately, they have a pretty good one there right now).
Executive you most admire: Jeff Skoll
Business advice: Dont rely too heavily on e-mail; old-fashioned "face-to-face" communication is always most effective.

Brearton joined O’Melveny & Myers in 1998 after working as an accountant at KPMG for three years and earning a law degree from the University of Virginia.

“He can clearly describe concepts and provide solutions,” said Timo Lumme, senior director of IOC Television and Marketing Services. “He’s a very hands-on, proficient and pro-active lawyer, and he’s a very hands-on commercial negotiator.”

Brearton has been a central player in negotiations on behalf of O’Melveny & Myers’ biggest sports client, the IOC. He led media negotiations in China last year when the IOC negotiated a $100 million rights agreement with China Central Television for the 2010 and 2012 Olympics, a more than 400 percent increase from the previous deal.

In total, he and the O’Melveny team also did deals in 160 territories for the 2010 and 2012 Olympics. He will be at the table again when the IOC begins negotiations for U.S. television rights, which are expected to fetch more than $2 billion.

“When I saw the U.S. score the winning goal in 1980 hockey in Lake Placid, I’ve been an Olympic nut ever since,” Brearton said. “I’m excited as can be about it. It’s the market I’m most familiar with and it’s where I’m a consumer. Will it be the most exciting thing I work on this year? Time will tell, but that’s definitely going to be up there.”

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