How Brexit Affects Sports Broadcasting In The UK And Europe

How Brexit Affects Sports Broadcasting In The UK And Europe
Friday, 26 February 2021 By Conor Hume, Craig Giles

Even before the Brexit vote, the UK broadcasting industry has in recent years been faced with a high degree of legal and regulatory change and upheaval. Media rights to sports properties have traditionally been sold on a territorial basis, with a different national broadcaster granted exclusive rights in their official licensed territory. However, this approach has frequently been at odds with European Union (‘EU’) rules on freedom of movement, and specific legal initiatives under the EU’s Digital Single Market programme, which in general terms are aiming to break down territorial boundaries and unify markets across the EU.

On 1 January 2021 the UK’s transition period for leaving the EU came to an end under the terms of the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (‘TCA’). This article looks at some of the key areas where EU law has impacted on how sports media rights are acquired and sold, and the resulting impact that Brexit will have on this legal landscape.  

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Written by

Conor Hume

Conor Hume

Conor is an Associate, Sports Team, Bird & Bird LLP (London) who takes a solution-based approach to advising clients on key commercial issues, predominantly in the media and sports sectors.

Conor trained with Bird & Bird and qualified into the sports team in 2020. He is experienced in advising on sports-related commercial issues and has acted for a wide range of entities within the sporting ecosystem including governing bodies, event organisers, clubs, commercial sponsors, broadcasters and betting companies. Conor's practice covers an extensive range of sports such as football, rugby union, cricket, tennis, athletics and esports.

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Craig Giles

Craig Giles

I'm a partner in our Media, Entertainment & Sports group in London, advising on commercial issues in all major sports, as well as advertising and marketing campaigns and consumer law.
I specialise in advising our sports industry clients on sponsorship, image rights, staging agreements, agency agreements, merchandising, licensing, funding agreements, brand protection and ticketing measures. I have particular expertise in the field of media rights and lead our London team's practice in this area. I've advised numerous rights holders, producers and broadcasters on some of the most high profile and cutting-edge media rights deals in the industry, both in the UK and in other jurisdictions across the world.

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