Women’s sport has never been more exciting. After years of being in the shadow of men’s sport, it has rightly been growing in prominence across the world. We are hugely passionate about supporting its growth and helping our clients to invest in, deliver, commercialise and regulate women’s sport.
With our extensive specialist expertise and experience across contentious and non-contentious sports-related matters, including a variety of women’s sport-specific mandates, we are well-placed to advise our clients on all things women’s sport. We work, both domestically and internationally, with sports organisations, governing bodies, sports federations, clubs, teams, broadcasters, sponsors, event organisers, games publishers and stakeholders across a broad range of sports, including (to name a few), football, rugby, tennis, motorsport, athletics, cricket, equestrian sports and esports.
In particular, we assist our clients in:
establishing their available inventory of rights and helping to plan and structure their commercial rights programmes, including formulating sponsorship packages, drafting and negotiating contracts and assisting with implementation;
exploiting and protecting their media rights, including by the creation of rights packages specific to women’s sport, operating the tender process and managing the negotiation of media rights agreements across multiple territories and broadcasters;
all aspects of the organisation and staging of major sports events and competitions, including advising on the use of special purpose vehicles to fully commercialise the assets available, drafting of rules and regulations governing the event or competition, advising on merchandising and licensing programmes, negotiating host agreements and advising on ticketing and travel programmes;
drafting rules, regulations and policies, including those focussed on establishing eligibility and competition conditions that will ensure fair and meaningful competition;
advising on regulatory issues, including governance, anti-doping, anti-corruption, disciplinary, safeguarding, and other eligibility issues; and
the enforcement of rules and regulations, including advising on the application or breach of any rules, conducting investigations into any suspected breaches, and providing efficient procedures for enforcement and appeals.
In addition to our dedicated sports law specialists, we also have a team of experts who specialise in the sports sector and can assist in areas that impact on sports businesses in the field of women’s sport, including brand protection, data protection, competition law, employment & immigration, sports betting, sports finance and corporate transactions.
The Football Association: We have advised The FA on a number of matters in connection with the Women’s Super League, including The FA’s first ever tender of media rights to women’s international and domestic matches and helping establish its OTT service to help revolutionise the coverage of the women’s game in the UK.
The British & Irish Lions: We have been advising the Lions on the launch of the Lions women’s team, including its arrangements with the host union for the inaugural Lions women’s tour and key sponsorship agreements.
DAZN: We have advised DAZN on a number of matters in relation to women’s sport, including the acquisition of media rights to La Liga de Fútbol Femenino (Liga F) and its media rights deal for various WTA events.
Six Nations: We advise the Six Nations on a number of matters in connection with the Women’s Six Nations Championship, including the tender of their media rights, their terms of participation and the landmark deal appointing TikTok as the first ever title sponsor for the Women’s Six Nations Championship.
Lawn Tennis Association: We provided regulatory advice to the Lawn Tennis Association in connection with its decision to ban Russian and Belarusian athletes from participating in professional women’s tennis events in the UK following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. We also represented the Lawn Tennis Association in an appeal to the Women’s Tennis Association relating to that decision.
Bird & Bird provides a ‘unique blend of industry expertise with the depth and breadth of a full-service law firm’… leveraging the firm’s international footprint to provide ‘formidable multi-jurisdictional capabilities"
Legal 500, 2022
Bird & Bird has significant bench strength and the capacity to absorb large amounts of highly technical work. They are highly pragmatic, and service standards, including client care, are excellent.”
Chambers UK, 2022
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