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Sports Technology And Media Rights - The Year In Review 2020/2021

Laptop Screen Showing Players Playing Football
Friday, 06 August 2021 By Conor Hume, Ansgar Faßbender, Dr. Joseph Fesenmair

2020/2021 has been a year like no other for everyone, and the commercial sports world is no exception. The COVID-19 pandemic shook the world in early 2020, largely bringing sport to a complete standstill until May (and in many cases, much later). For an industry which is based on the exploitation of sporting content, having no sport being played at all was a seismic and unprecedented problem for the industry. Thankfully, as soon as governments around the world permitted the return of professional sport, much sport returned to our lives, albeit in COVID-19 secure environments and (largely) without the presence of spectators.

Now, over a year into the pandemic, it is a good time to consider how the commercial sports world has spent the last year dealing with a period of global turmoil for the industry. In doing so, we will consider the following topics:

  • the impact of COVID-19 on broadcasting deals;
  • technological innovation in sport exploitation;
  • esports and streaming; and
  • an assessment of the investment and sponsorship landscape over the last 12 months.

It will become apparent that the pandemic has also brought significant opportunity for stakeholders in the industry to innovate, evolve and improve their commercial offering on turbocharged timelines. This article finishes with a forward-looking assessment on what trends and developments from the last year are expected to continue in the forthcoming 12 months.

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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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Ansgar Fabender

Ansgar Faßbender

Ansgar Faßbender, LL.M. currently works as a trainee lawyer for Bird & Bird in the Media, Entertainment and Sport practice group in Düsseldorf, Germany. He supports the practice group primarily in advising various associations, clubs and agents on relevant legal matters. He also assists arbitrator Prof. Dr. Martin Schimke, LL.M. in proceedings at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne. Ansgar regularly speaks at sports conferences focusing on the law governing football intermediaries. 

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Dr. Joseph Fesenmair

Dr. Joseph Fesenmair

Dr. Joseph Fesenmair is  a partner specialising in IP, media and sports law in our Munich office, where he acts as co-head of our international Media, Entertainment and Sport Sector Group. He bring deep experience in trade mark, design, copyright and unfair competition law and am widely known for my expertise in sports and sponsorship.  

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