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The Lifecycle Of An International Athlete – Negotiating Sponsorship & Endorsements Deals

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Friday, 13 May 2022 By Mary-Clare Palmer, Edmund Forey

This blog in our series for international athletes explains the key points to consider when entering into sponsorship and endorsement deals or merchandising agreements. 

Most athletes in most sports have relatively few years at the top.  The average playing career of a Premier League footballer is eight years, and it’s a similar story at the highest level of most other professional sports.  For this reason alone, it is important that athletes and their advisers consider how to leverage their elite status and commercialise their name and image rights, through sponsorship and endorsements (and possibly also merchandising).   Not only is it an important revenue stream but it may also enable the athlete to maintain their “brand value” long after their playing career has come to an end.

This blog examines some of the key issues to consider including:

  • What are the different options available to athletes?
  • What are the main things that athletes should be considering?
  • What are the key terms to be considered when negotiating a contract?
    • Exclusivity
    • Marketing rights granted
    • Reputation management
    • Athlete’s liability
    • Control and approvals
  • Overall strategy

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Written by

Mary-Clare Palmer

Mary-Clare Palmer

Mary-Clare is an associate in Penningtons Manches Cooper's IP, IT and commercial team in Oxford. She advises on a range of commercial agreement, intellectual property and data protection issues.

Edmund Forey

Edmund Forey

Edmund is a Managing associate in Penningtons Manches Cooper's commercial, IP and IT team, specialising in competition law. He advises brands on their distribution arrangements, including exclusive or selective distribution systems, internet selling and pricing; on behavioural issues (such as refusal to supply) for dominant companies; and on competition clearance for mergers and acquisitions. Edmund also advises on state aid and procurement law.

Comments (1)

  • andy pittman

    • 16 May 2022 at 18:15
    • #

    I enjoy reading these articles and comparing them to situations here in the US. We are dealing with NIL (Name image and likeness) , NFT (Non fungible tokens) and making college athletes employees of their college. Nobody knows where all of this is eventually heading.


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