Optimised exploitation of sports rights is a central issue from the viewpoint of Hungarian sports rights owners. Although population of Hungary and international exposure of Hungarian competitions are rather low key, athletes, sports clubs and sports associations generate most of their income through commercially exploiting their sports rights. This article will provide a general insight into the regulations of the Hungarian Sports Act (‘Sports Act’) on the exploitation of sports rights. In this article, the term ‘sports rights’ refers to sports rights which have a commercial value and can be exploited in exchange for consideration by their rights holders.
The commercial appropriation or exploitation of a person’s identity and associated images are commercially valuable, particularly for individuals such as actors, musicians and athletes who commercialise their images in association with the promotion of products or services. These days it is not only about talent, it’s just as much, or even more, about the brand. Often a career in sport is at its height at a young age, but if the brand can be built and protected, it is possible to capitalise on that talent for years after retirement and even after death.
A footballer's 'image rights' can form an essential part of his earning potential and the use of the term has become increasingly common when reading about footballers' wages. Wayne Rooney, Sol Campbell and the ubiquitous, David Beckham are all high profile players whose earnings from image rights are at the top end of the spectrum and have often been dissected by the press.
On 1 December 2011, footballer Wayne Rooney won the latest round of a legal battle with his former agency. The Court of Appeal handed down judgment in the case of Proactive Sports Management Limited v Rooney  EWCA Civ 1444, an appeal by Proactive in a dispute concerning a contract to exploit Rooney's image rights.
The Taxman is Tackling Sporting Image Rights Again by Jeremy Drew, Partner and Head of our Intellectual Property & Technology Group, and Nicole Mellors of Reynolds Porter Chamberlain LLP
Image rights are big business, in some cases doubling an athlete’s earning capacity. Last year, Sol Campbell successfully sued Portsmouth Football Club for almost £1.7m for unpaid image rights payments.