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COVID-19: a high level review of the impact on sports events, teams and ticketholders

corona football
Thursday, 26 March 2020 By Nick Harrison

The coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak that began in Wuhan, China in December 2019 and spread at a rapid pace, has now infected hundreds of thousands of people and claimed thousands of lives. It has spread throughout the globe and continues to grow in countries outside of China at a startling rate. On 30 January 2020, the World Health Organisation declared Covid-19 a public health emergency.

Although the outbreak was previously concentrated in China and surrounding Asian countries, there has been a significant spike in cases in Europe linked to an outbreak in Northern Italy and the number of cases reported outside of China quickly exceeded those from within. Growing concern over the spread of Covid-19 in Europe (which quickly became the epicentre of the outbreak in March 2020) led the UK Government to enforce tight restrictions on the nation’s activity: preventing citizens from leaving their homes and, amongst other things, preventing sporting events from being held.  This article examines the early effects of Covid-19 on the sports industry, looking specifically at:

  • The impact on events
  • The impact on sports contracts
  • The impact on ticketholders
  • The impact on sports teams and sporting venues

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Written by

Nick Harrison

Nick Harrison

Head of TMT MK, Senior Associate, Dentons
Nick is a senior associate at Dentons and the Head of the Technology, Media and Telecoms (TMT) practice in Milton Keynes. He specializes in the retail and sports sectors, routinely advising on high-value deals in these areas. 
Nick's practice focuses on advising and supporting on commercial contracts, with expertise in outsourcing, technology, IT, media and IP. He regularly advises household name clients on commercial projects and agreements. Nick has particular experience advising on partnership and sponsorship agreements in the sports sector, and local and international supply of goods and/or services agreements (both goods-not-for-resale and goods-for-resale) and tendering exercises for retail clients. 
Nick has a strong understanding of the issues encountered by in-house lawyers, having undertaken three secondments whilst at Dentons and two years in-house with leading FMCG and retail businesses
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