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Alex Kelham

Alex KelhamPartner

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I am an experienced commercial and IP lawyer, and joint head our firm-wide Sports Business Group. Although I have particular expertise in the sports sector, I also advise brands, marketing agencies and other IP rich businesses on a range of commercial, brand and marketing issues.

In sport my clients include federations, teams, events and venues that I assist in the management, exploitation and protection of their commercial rights. I also work with brands and agencies on a range of sports and other marketing and commercial matters, ranging from sponsorship, engaging talent, content creation and tech agreements to data privacy, social media and brand protection.

Brands & Intellectual Property

IP is at the heart of virtually all my work. I predominantly advise on non-contentious copyright, trade mark, image rights and passing off matters but I also help clients to protect and enforce their brands. I am a leading global expert on ambush marketing and the special legislation that sports rights holders implement in relation to major events.

My recent work includes:

  • providing strategic and practical advice on brand protection and ambush marketing for a global sports event
  • negotiating global sports sponsorship agreements acting for brands and rights holders including events, venues and governing bodies
  • advising marketing agencies on image rights and other IP clearance issues


I advise on a wide range of commercial agreements but the majority involves the exploitation or management of IP, content or other commercial rights. Most of my work is in the context of sport, and sports events, but I also regularly advise on commercial issues in media and entertainment, and marketing and advertising.

My recent work includes:

  • advising on a multitude of commercial matters for an international sports event, including negotiating sponsorship, ticketing, hospitality, broadcast, production and venue agreements
  • negotiating a talent agreement for a pop icon to appear in an advertisement
  • advising an agency on a representation agreement for a global sports superstar
  • drafting and negotiating client-agency agreements for advertising and design agencies
  • negotiating a co-production agreement for a new animation series

Sports Business

I am the joint head of our firm-wide Sports Business Group and advise sports federations, teams, events and venues, as well as brands, on a wide variety of predominantly commercial and IP issues. I have an intimate understanding of the sector having seen sport from all angles - I worked in-house on the London 2012 Games, am a non-executive director of British Swimming, and have competed at international level.

My recent work includes:

  • negotiating multi-million pound global sponsorship agreements for brands and rights holders across a variety of sports
  • advising a new track cycling series on all commercial aspects of its business from venue agreements, ticketing and sponsorship, to drafting series regulations and rider agreements
  • drafting commercial agreements relating to a collaboration between event owners to establish a new joint content distribution channel
  • acting for athletes, their agents and teams on the exploitation, management and protection of image rights
  • advising on the commercial and IP aspects of player contracts (rugby) and manager contracts (football), and drafting driver agreements (formula e)
  • providing strategic and practical advice on brand protection and ambush marketing for a global sports event
  • negotiating commercial agreements relating to the instillation and operation of digital perimeter advertising boards
  • advising a sports marketing/tech company on the deployment of its new app and related data protection matters

Advertising & Marketing

I specialise in sports marketing matters, advising on IP and regulatory issues such as the use of athlete imagery in adverts, sports sponsorship by alcohol brands, and the use of social media. I am also a leading expert on ambush marketing, providing practical advice and insight to brands and rights holders.

Outside of sport I advise marketing, advertising and design agencies on a variety of commercial issues, regularly negotiating complex sponsorship contracts and client-agency agreements.

My recent work includes:

  • advising an alcohol brand on its sponsorship of a Formula 1 team, including coordinating regulatory advice relating to the activation of its rights in over 30 jurisdictions
  • negotiating numerous client-agency agreements for a leading design agency
  • providing clearance advice for advertising agencies running campaigns relating to major sports events, both where the brand is an official sponsor and not
  • advising on production agreements for advertising and experiential agencies


Awards & Recognition

  • Legal 500 2024 (Sport) - ‘Alex Kelham is superb, top of the league.’
  • Chambers 2023 (Sport UK-Wide) "She's an excellent all-round sports lawyer." "She's great to work with. She's proactive, commercially aware and extremely knowledgeable of many areas of our business." "Alex offers exceptional client service."
  • Legal 500 2023 (Sport) ‘Alex Kelham is a former Commonwealth Games gold medallist and now a titan in sports law.’
  • Chambers 2022 (Sport) - ‘She provides relevant and timely advice in order to future-proof our commercial deals'
  • Legal 500 2022 (Sport) - ‘Alex Kelham is a former Commonwealth Games swimmer and on top of branding/protection and publicly funded sporting issues'
  • Chambers 2019 Up and coming: Sport (UK wide)
  • Chambers 2019 - "Alex is fantastic; she's highly responsive with a broad skill set and a strong knowledge of best practice in the sporting sector."
  • Legal 500 2018 Next generation lawyer - Sport
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