Sport and commercial law – the year in review 2019/20

Sports Investment
Wednesday, 10 June 2020 By Jon Walters

At the time of writing, it is hard to reflect on a pre-Covid-19 world in which recent deal history would be a cause for bullish optimism about the commercial value of sport. However, rewind to early 2020 and the activity in media rights, sponsorship, and investment / M&A relating to sports properties over the preceding 12 months would justify exactly that. Real Madrid had announced the most lucrative football partnership in history, a US$1.2 billion kit deal with Adidas;[1] the English Premier League had secured a sale of live rights in Scandinavia to NENT’s Viaplay streaming service at a reported value of £2 billion;[2] and private equity had continued to demonstrate its confidence in the sports and entertainment market, notably CVC’s investment in Premiership Rugby and its cash injection, along with the Jordan Company, of US$600 million into Bruin Sports Capital.[3]  

This review recaps the main commercial and investment trends developing in sports over the past year before looking ahead to see how they may continue to evolve in a post-Covid-19 world.  Specifically, it looks at:

  • The main lesson from Covid-19 for commercial contracts
  • Sponsorship developments
  • Athlete endorsements
  • Investment in sport

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Written by

Jon Walters

Jon Walters

Partner, Northridge

Jon provides commercial and corporate advice to clients. He is recognised by the directories as a “real go-to adviser” and a “commercial and regulatory expert”, with particular expertise on governance, corporate advice and commercial rights.

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