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.
Governing Body Endorsements: lessons learned and looking ahead10 March 2021
Following on from our Webinar in December we are hosting a joint webinar with James Bowles of Transfer Edge on 10 March. James will be discussing the lessons learned from the first window since the new GBE rules were implemented. The session will include how to interpret the rules to accurately calculate points and also the importance of monitoring players to ensure the correct timing of applications.
Sports Q&A - How are esports regulated?28 January 2021
It’s impossible to answer this question without taking a closer look at the esports ecosystem. Although there are certain parallels to draw with traditional sports (with professional players, teams, leagues and championships) there are also significant differences. In particular, the international and national federation structure as seen in traditional sports is generally absent in esports.
COVID-19 advice for corporate occupiers07 January 2021
Commercial tenants – whether occupying offices, retail premises, industrial units or other property - face potentially existential questions arising out of their landlord and tenant relations, how to manage cashflow and outgoings as revenues dry up, premises shut down and uncertainty reigns.
Sports Q&A: Points-based system introduced for overseas players in England post Brexit: what does this mean for football transfers?21 December 2020
To obtain a visa to play professional football in the UK a player must first obtain a Governing Body Endorsement (GBE) from the FA.
Brexit and the Governing Body Endorsement Criteria: what does this mean for football clubs?11 December 2020
With Brexit on the horizon, clubs need to be prepared for the new immigration system that comes into force from 1 January 2021. The ability for players to move freely between the UK and EU will end and everyone who wants to recruit from outside the UK will need to apply for permission first. Clubs also need to ensure that existing players and staff have taken steps to ensure that they are able to continue living and working in the UK once the transition period ends.
A guide to the new immigration rules for players coming to the Premier League and EFL: Stephen O’Flaherty writes for LawInSport04 December 2020
With the opening of the transfer window on 2 January 2021, UK football clubs will be in uncharted territory. Not only will they face the prospect of signing European Economic Area (EEA) and Swiss nationals for the first time following the end of freedom of movement, but they will also have to navigate the UK’s new immigration system (applicable to all immigrants) and The Football Association’s new Governing Body Endorsement (GBE) criteria (relating specifically to work permits for overseas footballers wanting to play in England & Wales).