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.
You can view our latest 2 Sport blog posts below and our full blog here.
Pink Mercs, Penalties and Scandal - What does Racing Point's plight teach us about dealing with sports' governing bodies and regulatory changes?18 August 2020
As the dust settled on Sunday's Spanish Grand-Prix you could be forgiven for thinking Racing Point F1 had a lot to feel good about. The team had their best points of the campaign with drivers finishing 4th and 5th - only behind the two Mercedes and Red Bull's Max Verstappen. However, as can often be the case in sport, in play success has been marred by regulatory trouble.
Sports Q&A - Launching a new team brand – what do I need to consider?17 August 2020
The BlackLivesMatters movement has led to sports clubs reconsidering the appropriateness of their team names, mascots and nicknames.
Cyber threats and how to be a good sport06 August 2020
The sports sector was recently identified as a target for cyber attackers in a report published by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC). The report highlights the cyber threats faced by the sports sector and suggests how to stop or reduce their impact on sports organisations of all sizes – from local clubs to national federations.
Is FFP dead? Why Man City victory could mean major overhaul for UEFA rules: John Shea comments for Goal05 August 2020
Football's European governing body needs to revamp its rules around spending after a Champions League ban handed to Premier League side was overturned.
Law expert believes coronavirus may impact overseas recruitment by English clubs: Stephen O’Flaherty comments for The Irish Times16 July 2020
New guidelines issued by the British Home Office this week have left the situation in sport largely unchanged ahead of the summer transfer window.
Manchester City escapes Champions League ban: John Shea comments for Bloomberg14 July 2020
The credibility of UEFA’s financial fair play rules has been questioned after Europe’s top soccer regulatory body lost in its attempt to ban Manchester City for two years from the Champions League.