Stephen Taylor Heath
Stephen is a Partner and Head of Sports Law at JMW.
Stephen is highly regarded by clients and his peers and currently ranked as a ‘Leading individual’ by Legal 500 in the TMT/Sports category. He is as an acknowledged expert in particular with regard to multi-jurisdictional broadcast agreements for major events and Ambassador agreements for high profile sports and media personalities. He is also noted for his work on constitutional and regulatory matters across several sports as well as his involvement in commercial initiatives to modernise the approach of several key sporting governing bodies such as the Royal & Ancient and British Boxing Board of Control.
As well as commercial work Stephen represents clients both domestically and internationally in the distinct dispute resolution chambers of several sports including under the Football Association Rule K Arbitration, British Boxing Board of Control Stewards, Rugby League Panel, England Athletics, Sports Resolutions Doping Control, World Boxing Organisation Disciplinary panel and the Massachusetts State Athletic Commission. He represents Clubs, players and agents as well as disputes with governing bodies.
In addition to over 25 years in private practice Stephen has held high profile in-house positions in the Sports Industry including Racing UK, Frank Warren’s Sports Network and recently Leeds United Football Club.
Stephen has particular specialist experience at the highest level of commercial agreements for international events including sponsorship and multi territory media rights agreements. Recent matters have included the promotional and media rights agreements for Tyson Fury v Anthony Joshua/ Deontay Wilder and assisting BT with a Blocking Order against Pirate streams.
Another specialist area is Ambassador Agreements having helped several high profile sports people/ personalities/social media influencers and leading brands in the legal documentation required for their commercial marketing campaigns. Such matters have included tie ups with Anthony Joshua (Boxer), Jo Konta (No1 UK Tennis Player, Trent Alexander Arnold (Liverpool player) Kirsty Gallacher (presenter/TV Personality). Such agreements fully utilise Stephen’s knowledge of the modern leveraging of brand awareness through social media/viral marketing campaigns with the Ambassador’s cooperation.
Stephen uses his legal expertise to protect client’s reputations and commercial interests including image rights. This includes setting Image Rights Companies and licensing so called ‘personality rights’ to third parties and sports teams.
Stephen has continued to spearhead and grow the JMW Sports team having recruited specialist sports lawyers and acquired, developed relations with, major sports sector clients in recent years including Modest! Golf Management, Prenetics EMEA Limited, Ian Rush, Phynova, Kinetica Sports Nutrition and Queensberry Promotions.
Stephen’s work for Prenetics in carrying out Covid 19 testing for the Premier League football, England Cricket team, Matchroom and other sports to enable them to proceed in the midst of lockdowns and other restrictions has garnered significant media attention.