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Sports

In a progressively more global sector, our international, cross-practice sports sector team provide clients with innovative, commercial and tailored solutions to the most complex and challenging matters within the sports industry

Our global, cross-practice sports sector team is a game changer. We combine a real passion and understanding of the sector and its specific requirements and pressures, including increased regulatory scrutiny.

Our clients include corporates, financial sponsors and high-net-worth individuals as well as sports teams, clubs and governing and regulatory bodies, who we act as trusted advisors to in relation to a full range of matters, including:

  • M&A and investment opportunities (including investments in clubs/teams and competitions and acquisitions of media and television rights)
  • debt and equity financing and securitisations
  • a variety of commercial matters that affect individuals, teams and bodies within the sector (including sponsorship, branding, image rights, IP, data protection and events planning)
  • dispute resolution and reputation management
  • a wide scope of regulatory and anti-trust matters (including large-scale investigations and governance and compliance reviews)
  • employment law 
  • real estate transactions (including stadium development/expansion and financing)

Why is our team game changing?

  • We are one of only a small number of elite global law firms with a dedicated sports sector team – our lawyers have exceptional understanding of the issues and challenges in the sector and regularly write about such topics on our international sports law blog, SportingLinks.
  • We have truly global capabilities – you will be able to leverage our full international network of 31 offices in 21 countries. Our team comprises sports sector experts in the UK and key European markets (such as Spain, France, Italy, Germany, Portugal, Belgium and the Netherlands), as well as in the US, South America and Asia. We also have an integrated sports sector offering with our alliance firms: Allens in Australia and Webber Wentzel in South Africa.
  • We offer an end-to-end service – you will benefit from our genuine multi-practice capabilities in the sector with a proven track record across corporate/M&A, commercial, finance and dispute resolution.

Our experience

Our experience in the sports sector includes advising:

  • Man Capital LLP, the UK-based investment arm of the Egyptian Mansour Group, on its investment in and partnership with Right To Dream, the global opportunity-creating ecosystem of football academies, professional football clubs and partnering colleges and universities
  • The underwriters on the €300m rights issue by Juventus Football Club S.p.A
  • Orkila Capital LLC on its investment in the Belgian football club Club Brugge
  • F.C. Internazionale Milano on its indirect sale of a minority stake in the club to Suning
  • Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and TCV on their acquisition of a majority stake in Sportradar, including advising on shareholder/governance arrangements, regulatory and anti-trust matters and financing aspects of transaction
  • A national rugby union on the sale of a 28% stake in the PRO14 and the £365m sale of a 14% stake in the Six Nations to CVC Capital Partners
  • Super Slam Limited and its affiliates on the combined share and asset sale of the Mutua Madrid Open tennis tournament (one of nine ATP Masters 1000 events) and the Acciona Open de España golf tournament (formerly the Spanish Open)
  • Dugout on the establishment of a digital football business and a joint venture between Europe’s leading football clubs
  • A bidder on the €1.5 billion stake in the French Football MediaCo
  • The Principal Sellers on the sale of a 77% stake in Everton Football Club

  • The private equity sponsor and the bond issuer on the €330 million USPP highly structured Bond financing of Real Madrid to finance the re-development of the Bernabeu stadium
  • MetLife on the £117.5m funding package from MetLife Investment Management into the English Football League to support Championship Clubs in meeting PAYE liabilities
  • The bank lenders on the €1.035 billion financing to Dorna Sports, the organiser and the exclusive commercial and television rights holder of the World Motorcycling Championship Grand Prix (MotoGP)
  • The arranger and dealer on the establishment of Tottenham Hotspur Stadium Ltd’s £175m commercial paper programme
  • CPPIB as lender on the €100m financing granted to Atletico de Madrid
  • Financial Football Group on the establishment of a capital markets debt-platform to finance football player transfer financings
  • USS, a large UK pension fund, on the structuring of a Spanish player transfer receivables-backed financing
  • 23 Capital on the establishment of a capital markets debt-platform to finance football player transfer financings

  • Real Madrid on the potential sale of its football broadcasting rights. We advised the club on antitrust and regulatory issues surrounding the sale of such broadcasting rights, including a successful appeal against a competition authority decision imposing fines
  • An F1 team on a sponsorship agreement with a cryptocurrency exchange, which includes an arrangement whereby the F1 team will provide digital content for the cryptocurrency firm to develop into NFTs for commercial use 
  • The NFL Players Association and its subsidiary, NFL Players Inc., in responding to a third-party subpoena served in a putative class action relating to college athletes’ ability to benefit financially from the commercial use of their name, image and likeness
  • An European sports governing body on the telecoms and content licensing regime, as well as cybersecurity and data protection laws, applicable to establishment and operation of a digital content hub for the China market
  • International sporting governing bodies (UEFA, FIFA, RFU, ICC) on world-wide distribution, licensing and exploitation of content across digital platforms (television, mobile and internet) at all stages of transactions from tender process, leading the commercial negotiations and drafting relevant media rights agreements*
  • Zilliqa on the establishment of its non-fungible tokens (NFTs) football platform, ZILSTARS
  • DAZN on its sports subscription streaming model in the US; and provided cutting-edge counsel on legal and regulatory issues related to Esports and fantasy sports platforms, apps, and digital products and experiences, as well as wearable technology, over-the-top streaming services, new stadium technology and many other transformative technology innovations in sports*

  • The English Premier League on various regulatory, contentious and competition law issues
  • NFL Players Association on several investigations, including serving as lead counsel in the New Orleans Saints’ “Bountygate” scandal, Miami Dolphins’ bullying investigation, and on several internal investigations relating to HR/employment matters
  • Real Madrid Club de Fútbol on a major international arbitration case under ICC rules related to a contractual dispute
  • Lead counsel to North Sails, the world’s number one sailing brand, in multiple civil suits against a competitor 
  • the Portuguese Football League (LPF) in filing a complaint against Olivedesportos/ Controlinvest with the Portuguese Competition Authority
  • Lead counsel to one of world’s leading sports apparel brands in a DOJ investigation resulting in no prosecution
  • Lead counsel to the head of racing for an international race car company resulting in no prosecution in a DOJ commercial bribery investigation
  • Successfully acted for Will Hall (an ex-professional basketball player) before the Employment Appeal Tribunal, in respect of his constructive dismissal by The London Lions, and associated claims for other breaches of English employment law
  • The British Olympic Association in relation to an athlete’s lifetime doping ban before the Court of Arbitration for Sport
  • McLaren Formula One in relation to disputes concerning driver contracts and poaching of staff and in all of the so-called “Spygate” and “Lie-gate” sporting disciplinary matters before the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA)*
* while fee-earner at previous firm

  • Fulham Football Club in relation to the planning application and environmental impact assessment to support the project for a new stadium
  • the Polish Government (through its SPV) in relation to the appointment of a general contractor for the National Stadium in Warsaw, Poland
  • funders to the consortium (Macquarie and Laing) bidding to build the new national sports stadium in Singapore
  • in relation to the development and financing of the Maroussi Olympic Press Village for the Athens 2004 Olympics
  • the French Government in connection with the public procurement law aspects of the construction of the Stade de France

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