The commercialisation of sport
Produced in partnership with Craig Giles of Bird & Bird

The following TMT practice note produced in partnership with Craig Giles of Bird & Bird provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • The commercialisation of sport
  • Operation and control of venues
  • Ticketing
  • Hospitality
  • Catering
  • Merchandising
  • Stadium hire
  • Broadcasting and media rights
  • Sponsorship
  • Merchandising and licensing
  • More...

The commercialisation of sport

Sport has become a big business. It is now widely recognised not only as a pastime or recreation but as an industry in its own right. However, as a matter of English law there are no standalone proprietary rights in a sport or sporting event: a sports organisation cannot claim an absolute legal right to claim all the commercial revenues derived from an event purely by dint of the fact it organises it. The same can be said for the individual rights which one usually associates with the 'commercialisation' of a sport; for example, there are no standalone sporting media rights, sponsorship rights or image rights.

This Practice Note provides an overview of the legal and contractual rights that a sports organisation can rely on, and the practical steps that it can take to create valuable proprietary rights in the sporting properties that it owns or stages, and to commercialise those rights effectively.

Operation and control of venues

For many sports organisations, the venue at which an event is staged not only serves as the 'home' of a team and focal point for its fans, it also serves as the keystone of its commercial programme. Some of the key sources of revenue that can be derived from a sporting venue include:

  1. ticketing

  2. hospitality

  3. catering

  4. merchandising

  5. stadium hire


Until the recent rise in the value of

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