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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

The sports sector is a major international growth market that is at the forefront of digital development and consumer engagement, providing stakeholders with both significant development and return opportunities as well as increasingly more complex and sophisticated challenges.

Our global, cross-practice sports sector team combines a real passion and understanding of the sector and its specific requirements and pressures (including increased regulatory scrutiny) with exceptional multi-jurisdictional expertise across all areas of corporate/M&A, finance and banking, capital markets and equity financing, commercial, technology and media, crisis management, data protection, IP, dispute resolution, regulatory and compliance investigations, real estate, restructuring and insolvency, anti-trust, employment and tax matters. This puts us in a unique position to be able to provide our clients with a full and seamless end-to-end service in order to help them successfully navigate the most complex and high-profile matters arising in the sector.

Technological innovation is also rapidly transforming the sports sector, including through the development of eSports and the increased monetisation of sports data. Together with our dedicated Fintech and Technology sector teams, we are able to provide clients with an unparalleled multi-jurisdictional depth of legal, commercial and regulatory expertise.

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)
  • real estate transactions (including stadium development/expansion and financing)

Our experience

Our experience in the sports sector includes advising:

  • MetLife Investment Management on the £117.5m funding package into the English Football League to support Championship Clubs in meeting PAYE liabilities
  • The arranger and dealer on the establishment of Tottenham Hotspur Stadium Ltd’s £175m commercial paper programme for the purpose of accessing the Joint HM Treasury and Bank of England Covid Corporate Financing Facility
  • The underwriters on the its €300m rights issue by Juventus Football Club S.p.A.
  • on football ground financings in relation to Ajax, Arsenal, Chelsea, Hamburg, Leicester City, Wembley Stadium and West Ham (acting for lenders and arrangers in each case)
  • on sports stadia financings in relation to the Maroussi Olympic Press Village for the Athens Olympics, the National Stadium in Warsaw and the Singapore National Stadium
  • on proposed securitisations of match-day ticket/season ticket revenues for Everton and Newcastle United and a term loan secured on ticket receivables for Lazio
  • on proposed whole-revenue securitisations for a leading Bundesliga club and Manchester United and a rights-revenue securitisation for Parma Calcio 1913
  • on general financings for Espanyol Football Club, Middlesbrough Football Club, Olympique Lyonnais Groupe and Perugia Football Club
  • on player securitisations for several English football clubs

  • The Association of Football Agents (AFA) in relation to FIFA’s planned reforms of the player transfer market and the introduction of a cap on agents’ commissions
  • Will Hall (an ex-professional basketball player) on a successful claim to the Employment Appeal Tribunal in respect of his constructive dismissal by The London Lions, and associated claims for other breaches of English employment law
  • Real Madrid Club de Fútbol on the appeal to the General Court of the European Union against a European Commission decision from 2016 that forced Spain to recover €18.4m from Real Madrid alleged illegal state aid
  • Real Madrid Club de Fútbol on a major international arbitration case under ICC rules related to a contractual dispute
  • various entities in relation to a breach of copyright and FIFA statutes in relation to the transmission of league football matches
  • 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)*
  • McLaren Formula One and Lewis Hamilton before 3 regulatory hearings concerning sporting penalties*
  • Nike in contentious negotiations with two elite sports teams*
  • a major rights owner on a possible challenge to a decision by DCMS to list certain events as UK "crown jewels"
* 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

Please see our Financing experience section for further details/information regarding our stadia financing experience

Speak to a member of our Sports sector team

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