The world of sport is now a huge business, whether in terms of the investment required to build a successful Premier League football club or the sheer scale, expense and operational logistics involved in delivering a major global sporting event such as London 2012. The acceleration of sport as a business has brought great opportunity and also challenges. Financing and taxation, the need for modern infrastructure to optimise revenues and the fan experience, and the complex contractual and intellectual property relationships between clubs, agents, sponsors and other entities are just some of the issues to be navigated. We help clients across the sport industry to find commercial legal solutions. Our expert lawyers have a proven track record in helping over 100 sport clients, including clubs, governing bodies, banks and other investors, sponsors, construction companies and high profile players and athletes to achieve their objectives and protect their interests. Our work for those clients has in recent years included six stadia projects across four different sports and work for more than 20 football clubs in leagues across seven countries.
Sport is a core area of focus for our firm. Led by independently-ranked sport specialists, our team consists of market leaders in all aspects of major real estate projects, sport disputes and financing. Complemented by further specialist tax, commercial contracts, intellectual property, equity capital markets, competition law, advocacy and bribery lawyers, and offices across Europe, Asia and the Middle East, BLP offers a holistic legal solution for your most significant sport business activities. You will find each of us to be personally committed to your commercial and sporting success.
Acted for a lender on a large amount of broadcast receivables financing work involving football clubs in Spain and Germany. The Spanish transactions are structured differently to those with football clubs in England, involving our client acquiring the rights to the future broadcast payments by forward funding the amounts at a discounted rate. The payments flow from various broadcasters in Spain and involves taking into account the complex structure of the nature of TV rights in Spain. The team also acts on player transfer instalment financings, involving some of the largest transactions in world football.
Advised a major football investor in relation to a number of complex cross-border arrangements to effect the international transfers of football players. The work undertaken has involved putting in place joint ventures between clubs and third party investment agreements, requiring local and international corporate tax and wider corporate finance advice.
Advised the Russian Federal Government on federal laws concerning the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, including PPP, construction, land, property and infrastructure.
Our team members have acted on acquisition financing and re-financing for two current Premier League football clubs, acquisitions for two current Championship clubs, plus acquisitions in Belgium, Uruguay and Brazil.
Our team regularly advise between six to eight Premier League clubs and a similar number in La Liga and other international leagues. We act on a large amount of receivables financing work which can be worth anything from £65 - £120 million to each Premier League club per year and will increase in 2016/2017 when a new broadcast rights deal comes into play. BLP drafts and agrees the various legal documents with the Clubs and liaises with their other lenders and the Premier League, who have to consent to the documentation required for such transactions.
Our team members recently advised the secured creditor on the consensual financial restructuring and sale of Reading Football Club to a Thai consortium. Having been instructed on the origination of RFC’s loan facilities, BLP then acted on the provision of additional bridge finance to ensure that the Club could meet various payment deadlines and to provide working capital in order that the Club be placed on the best footing for a sale to be achieved in order to move the Club forwards. This culminated in our client selling its debt to the eventual purchaser.
Over a period of three years, a cross-practice BLP team advised on all legal aspects relating to the design, procurement, planning, financing and operation of the FA’s new National Football Centre at St George’s Park. St George’s Park is seen as integral to the future of the FA, driving elite performance in football in England and Wales, and the heartbeat of Club England for years. We also advised the St George’s Park board on the procurement and financing strategy for this strategic development, comprising leisure, medical and hotel facilities.