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.
Sports Q&A – Privilege in internal investigations18 December 2018
We sometimes need to conduct internal investigations, which can often relate to quite sensitive matters (which we would prefer not to be made public). However, I’ve heard that the content of these investigations is not always privileged. How does privilege work in internal investigations and do you have any tips about how to preserve it?
Sam Minshall comments for Sky News, The Telegraph, The Independant and ITV: Olympic cyclist Jess Varnish's sex discrimination case against UK Sport and British Cycling begins10 December 2018
Sam Minshall has commented in articles for Sky News and The Telegraph which discuss Olympic cyclist Jess Varnish's sex discrimination case against UK Sport and British Cycling.
Sam Minshall comments for Cyclist: Jess Varnish case could lead to ‘wholesale change in the treatment of athletes’07 December 2018
Sam Minshall has commented in an article for Cyclist which discusses the potential wider implications of the imminent court case for athletes involving track sprinter Jess Varnish, who is arguing her status as an employee rather than self-employed.
Alex Kelham comments for Sportcal and Gambling Insider: UK's gambling companies agree to TV ad ban during live sports coverage06 December 2018
Alex Kelham has commented for both Sportcal and Gambling Insider on the UK’s largest gambling companies agreeing to a voluntary ban on advertising during live television coverage of sport amid increasing concerns over the harmful effects of gambling addiction.
Sports Q&A - How might Brexit affect sports immigration?28 November 2018
As things stand, the UK will leave the EU on 29 March 2019. The UK will adopt a new immigration system post-Brexit, under which free movement of European nationals and their family members will cease. There will be a period of transition until the end of 2020, during which free movement will continue, and a new “settlement scheme” will be rolled out for European migrants. Free movement will end completely from January 2021. All British businesses will be affected by these changes. However, Brexit poses some particular challenges to the sports sector.
Alex Kelham comments for Inside World Football: Sky defend £595m for EFL as a good deal, but clubs angry at losing OTT control27 November 2018
Alex Kelham has commented in an article for Inside World Football, which discusses the recent £595 million TV rights deal signed by The Championship with Sky Sports that has left their clubs angry at losing OTT control.
Andrew Osborne's comments featured for a range of leading news outlets22 November 2018
Andrew Osborne's comments on the effect of Brexit on foreign player imports to the Premier League have been featured for ESPN, Mail Online and Bloomberg.
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.