Sports law

Sports law

Our sports business lawyers understand the sports industry and sports marketing and the commercialisation of rights through a wide variety of media. We are experienced in protecting those rights without tarnishing them through the litigation process.

Our specialist team understand commercial operations in sports business, grasp the importance of brand integrity and have depth in our understanding of the platforms via which you engage with your customers.

Those involved in sports business know they inhabit a fast changing landscape. The evolution of digital media has put the customer front and centre in commercial sports strategy. Athletes, influencers and fans are united by their passion for their sport and the possibilities for engagement with them expand daily.

Used strategically, fan engagement does not just spread a message and increase visibility. It can be used to ascertain vital information about buying habits, patterns and drivers which enables sports businesses to learn about what their consumers want. This information can help drive new product development, shape communications, and enhance sales.

At the heart of any consumer facing business is its brand. Brand development, brand protection and brand reach are all critically important to how customers perceive and interact with your business.

A structured programme of brand exploitation has many facets. The commercialisation of rights either as rights holder or commercial partner must be strategic, fit with brand message and deliver a return on investment. Similarly, endorsements and image rights can be carefully used to enhance brand perception and brand message. Routes to market, be that for products, services or content can be tailored to fit both brand identity and buyer preference both domestically and internationally. Our sports law specialists can ensure your commercial agreements are tailored to the exact needs of your brands and business.

The necessary accompaniment to brand development and brand exploitation is brand protection. Shoosmiths can advise on brand protection strategies that will ensure that nothing is given away unnecessarily in contractual negotiations where brand and IP licences are being granted.

Although it is preferable to avoid litigation, where sports businesses are faced with such an eventuality Shoosmiths will always ensure legal advice is given in a way that befits your brand.

Previous work highlights include:

  • Representing F1 team Red Bull Racing in their appeal against the disqualification of Daniel Ricciardo form the Melbourne Grand Prix (the 'fuel gate' case) at the International Court of Appeal in Paris
  • Negotiating a sponsorship and supply agreement with image an publicity rights provisions between a vitamin manufacturer and a leading road cycle team
  • Acting for nutrient and supplement manufacturer Science in Sport in relation to a wide range of commercial, sponsorship, R&D and distribution agreements
  • Advising a number of venue and leisure companies in relation to copyright issues specific to live broadcasts of sporting events and negotiating settlement agreements with sports licensing bodies
  • Negotiating settlement and licensing terms to resolve a dispute relating to the resale of tickets for international sporting fixtures where intellectual property rights were breached