Sports Finance

Bird & Bird’s Finance Group has unparalleled experience in the sports sector and our Sports Finance team regularly works on high-profile, domestic and cross border transactions across a number of sports, including football, cricket, tennis, and motorsport, with a particular expertise in cross border football finance relating to various European leagues.

We assist our clients - who may be lenders, clubs, sporting bodies or other transaction counterparties - in relation to a wide variety of sports finance and financial service transactions across the globe, including in relation to the following:  

  • selection and structuring of different financing options;
  • conventional loan and security arrangements;
  • financing against receivables from transfers, media rights revenues, and future gate revenues;
  • private placement arrangements;
  • stadium and other project financings;
  • financial restructurings, rescue and insolvency arrangements (including extensive advice on the football creditor rule);
  • the financial aspects of commercial transactions, such as bank guarantees of critical payment streams;
  • merchant acquiring arrangements for sports companies (including collateral arrangements in respect of card sale proceeds for transactions with deferred product delivery (e.g. rock concerts));
  • sports companies acting as brokers of credit or insurance products (e.g. for the consumer credit financing of season tickets);
  • loans by sports organisations to third parties for commercial purposes or for purposes associated with their public benefit objectives;
  • sponsorship arrangements with financial service companies raising interesting and sometimes difficult reputational and potential liability issues; and
  • derivative transactions to hedge foreign exchange and interest rate exposures.

Case studies

Lenders across Europe: We have advised clients in this space in relation to the financing of football transfer fee receivables and media rights receivables. Recent transactions have involved Premier League and Football League clubs in the UK, Serie A clubs in Italy, Bundesliga clubs in Germany, LFP clubs in France, La Liga clubs in Spain, Pro League clubs in Belgium, and Primeira Liga clubs in Portugal. A notable example of this work was when we acted for Macquarie Bank, London Branch in lending a significant (confidential) sum of money to Leicester City FC secured against the club's media rights monies due from the Premier League. It was the largest receivables transaction undertaken by Leicester City FC and was strategically important to them. We acted on all aspects of the financing including intercreditor arrangements.

A large Fund: We advised a large fund with international sports interests on the financing of the acquisition of a Premier League club, including M&A advice and advising on the structure of the redevelopment of their training ground and proposed expansion of their stadium.

Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA): We advised the FIA in relation to the sale out of administration of an F1 team to an international purchaser, including advice on the regulatory and contractual aspects of assignment of accrued competition rights.

Financing stadium projects: against security over a combination of the built stadia, ticket money receivables and staging rights payment, notably in relation to the financing of the Wembley Stadium.

Key Contacts

Joss Hargrave, Claire Barker


Excellent (Sports Finance) sector specific knowledge. Good at not just outlining options but also providing a recommendation. Very relationship led.”

legal 500, 2021