The 4 key issues facing sports media rights lawyers in 2017: From Head Counsel, Sky Sports

Published 24 May 2017 By: Stephen Ridgway

Camera filming on sports field

This is an extract from the Sport & Media Rights chapter of the LawInSport & BASL Sports Law Yearbook 2016/17. To access or order a full copy of the Yearbook, please see here.

Note: The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own.

 

The sports media rights market continued to make headlines in 2016 with major properties such as the Premier League securing record breaking rights renewals in multiple markets[1]. And despite reports suggesting a decline in the popularity of football[2] and NFL viewing[3] in the UK and the USA, live sport continues to be crucial in attracting substantial audiences, paying subscribers and to the overall success both of diversified, established media groups as well as new entrants.

Behind the headlines, however, a number of commercial and related legal issues continued to come to the fore in 2016, which will affect the packaging, sale and contracting for sports media rights through 2017. This article examines the most significant of these issues, looking specifically at:

  • Exclusivity v “Reserved Rights

  • Rise of dedicated OTT sports services

  • Piracy

  • Geo-blocking and EU Cross-Border Portability

  • Comment

 

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Author

Stephen Ridgway

Stephen Ridgway

Stephen is currently Head Counsel at Sky Sports, managing a team primarily responsible for Sky’s media rights arrangements with major sports rights holder including the Premier League, Football League, Formula 1, and the RFU.

Prior to moving in-house at Sky 4 years ago, Stephen qualified and worked for 7 years in the TMT team at Dentons, with a focus on the sports and media sector.