Billions of pounds are spent and made globally each year as the business of sport grows ever-more sophisticated. The interaction between athletes, agents, fans, clubs, venues and governing bodies – as well as the brands that engage with them – is intricate and ever-changing.
These relationships and the complex framework of rights and regulations which surround them are what the business of sport is built upon, requiring specialist knowledge, a strategic approach and real commercial nous on the part of legal advisers.
As one of the UK’s leading sports practices, we are not just seasoned legal experts, we have a deep and rich knowledge of the sector. Many of our team are ex-professional athletes or have worked in-house at clubs, sponsors and major events.
Our team is known for its expertise across all commercial aspects of sport including: sponsorship, merchandise licensing, ticketing and hospitality, data management and exploitation, gambling, gaming, supplier agreements and rights protection.
On top of this, our in depth understanding of the complex layering of commercial rights in sport sets us apart. We advise rights holders at all levels, and work closely with brands and their marketing agencies when investing in sports partnerships and creating sports content.
In a disrupted media environment we excel in helping sports stakeholders to deliver their content across a spectrum of traditional and digital platforms.
Our top-ranked advertising and marketing practice puts us in prime position to advise on regulatory issues as they impact sports marketing. Advising sports sponsors in heavily regulated industries such as alcohol and betting is a particular strength. We also advise on social media rules and ambush marketing on a daily basis.
On the talent side we have decades of experience negotiating deals for and with some of sports biggest stars; be it agency representation agreements, advertising campaigns or endorsements.
From negotiating global sponsorship deals, advising on player, manager and backroom staff employment issues, and implementing complex football financing deals, to advising on player transfers, sports immigration, brand protection and a wide range of commercial contracts and disputes, we bring to bear the added dimension of practical experience and in-depth insight.
That’s exactly why we act for some of the world’s biggest names in sport.
Andrew Osborne comments for Bloomberg: Soccer's Brexit Fight Heats Up as Clubs Resist Curbs on Imports16 November 2018
Andrew Osborne has commented in an article for Bloomberg which discusses the implications of Brexit on top English football clubs.
Andrew Osborne comments for Inside World Football: FA’s Brexit proposal on foreign player quotas breaks current immigration rules15 November 2018
Andrew Osborne has commented on an article for Inside World Football which discusses The FA's Brexit proposal on foreign player quotas.
Sports Q&A - Are the new guidelines on influencer marketing relevant to Sport?01 November 2018
The requirement for influencers to use #Ad to ensure their promotion of brand partners on social media are clearly identified as advertising is not new. However recent guidelines issued jointly by the relevant regulators is a sharp reminder that they’re taking this seriously.
Alex Kelham comments for City A.M: 'Why has Colin Kaepernick filed a trade mark of his image?'30 October 2018
In an article for City A.M, Alex Kelham comments on former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Kaepernick seeking to protect his assets by filing a trade mark in the US and discusses athletes' efforts to protect their personal brands.
Alex Kelham writes for LawInSport: The challenges of digitally placed advertising: Ofcom’s decisions on ‘undue prominence’ from the Singapore Grand Prix15 October 2018
Alex Kelham has authored an article for LawInSport on how Ofcom (the British regulator of TV broadcasting in the UK) felt Formula One Management (FOM) had gone too far with its commercial creativity in its coverage of the 2016 Singapore Grand Prix.
Sports Q&A - Are clubs allowed to ban their players from using social media?27 September 2018
This month’s question was inspired by comments from Manchester City boss, Pep Guardiola, about his first choice left back, Benjamin Mendy. During a press conference over the summer, Guardiola suggested that Mendy should, “forget a little bit the social media and improve a few things”. Mendy, who has a huge following on both Instagram and Twitter, vowed to “listen to the manager”...though he remains incredibly active online.