Sports

The legal requirements of the sports industry are diverse and often complex. Our Sports Law Group has a wealth of experience across the broad spectrum of legal disciplines that exist in the industry. Our team consists of experts from core practice areas such as Litigation and Dispute ResolutionIntellectual Property and Technology, Corporate and Commercial Property.

Our Sports Law Group represents numerous clients operating either directly or indirectly within the sports industry. We advise clients from every aspect of the industry and understand the different legal challenges that they face.  Our clients in this sector include governing bodies, sports clubs, corporates, stud farms, management companies and professional athletes.

Areas of Expertise include: 

  • Commercial Contracts and Acquisitions
  • Trade marks, copyright and passing off
  • Naming Rights Agreements
  • Sponsorship Agreements
  • Endorsement Agreements
  • Regulations and Governance
  • Dispute Resolution
  • Disciplinary Proceedings
  • Licensing
  • Gaming and Betting
  • Projects and Development
  • Employment 

Our Sports Law Group has all the benefits and expertise of a full service law firm to provide to our clients in the sports industry and community. We understand the business of sport. 

Our clients cover the spectrum of sporting disciplines and our experience includes acting for/advising:

  • IRFU as its legal advisors to all aspects of its bid to host the Rugby World Cup in Ireland in 2023 
  • We continue to advise the RDS on all aspects of a complex multi-party long term stadium naming sponsorship agreement with a well known European Champions Cup rugby team and a major world player in the insurance market.  We are assisting with negotiations, drafting of the sponsorship agreement and related matters.
  • Leinster Rugby on representing Leinster Rugby and its professionally contracted players at disciplinary hearings for alleged on-field foul play offences. 
  • Horse Racing Ireland on a wide range of matters as governing body to horse racing in Ireland including racecourse development,  technology, sponsorship matters, media rights, tote/betting, internal governance and legislation, employment matters and disputes, financing,  commercial conveyancing and boundary disputes. 
  • Tote Ireland on various matters relating to the provision of on-site gaming and betting services at Irish Horse racing venues throughout Ireland.
  • Special Olympics Ireland on a pro bono basis on all legal aspects of hosting the summer games in Dublin.
  • The K-Club on negotiation of the commercial contract for the hosting of the Ryder Cup together with all ancillary legal matters as host to the Ryder Cup. We have also advised on  golf course development, co-ownership arrangements, trade mark disputes, sale of residential property and the transfer of common areas.
  • Dun Laoghaire Golf Club with regard to all aspects of its hosting the 2016 Curtis Cup.
  • Aviva on intellectual property matters arising in respect of the naming rights arrangements at the Aviva Stadium (formerly Lansdowne Road). We are also advising another client with regard to the naming rights of a significant national stadium. 
  • Coolmore Stud on various commercial and foal share arrangements and projects including the resolution of a dispute regarding a high profile foal sharing agreement. 
  • Betdaq’s key stakeholders on the acquisition of Betdaq by Ladbrokes. 
  • Bavaria on its exclusive sponsorship of the Formula 1 Exhibition Race in Dublin in 2012, known as the Bavaria City Race. We also act for a number of clients in relation to sponsorship matters including  Red Bull, Diageo and the National Lottery.
  • Portlaoise GAA Club in the development and sale of club lands Roscommon Gaels GAA Club in the resolution of a commercial land dispute. 
  • British and Irish Lions on charitable and trust matters, banking and finance, corporate/company secretarial matters and negotiation of property leases. 
  • Avoca Hockey Club and YMCA Hockey Club with regard to pitch sharing agreements and State grants. 
  • A professional Irish golfer on equipment and endorsement agreement with Callaway.
  • A professional Irish Athlete on her endorsement agreement with Spar
  • An international sports broadcaster on its acquisition of an Irish sports business. 

Social Media and OTT Platforms Muscle in on Traditional TV Sports Broadcasting Market

We look at the emerging trend of social media companies and over-the-top subscription platforms entering the sports broadcasting market


Dawn Raids in Sports Media Rights Distribution Markets

The European Commission recently carried out dawn raids at the premises of a number of companies active in the sports media rights market as a preliminary step in an investigation into suspected anti-competitive practices in that market.


FAI Settle High Court Proceedings Relating to Appeal Against 12 Month Suspension of Former Athlone Town Football Players for Match-fixing

The FAI has settled proceedings brought by two former Athlone Town football players arising from an appeal by the football players against a 12 month suspension for match-fixing


In GAA We Trust

An Administrative Error in the Name of Proprietor of a Registration Does Not Invalidate the Registration.


Is the Restriction on Athlete Advertising During Olympic Games an Abuse of a Dominant Position?

The German competition authority has launched competition proceedings against the International Olympic Council for restricting athletes from taking part in advertising during the Olympic Games


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Key Contacts

Craig Sowman Partner

Derek Hegarty Partner

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