Media, entertainment and sports
Our media, entertainment and sports practice has advised on some of the largest and most complex M&A transactions, disputes, investigations and regulatory matters in the US, Europe, MENA and Asia.
Freshfields lawyers have unrivalled experience with acquisitions in the media, entertainment and sports sector, and rights commercialisation in broadcasting, licensing and sponsorship deals. We are the go-to advisors for sports content distribution, including broadcasting over-the-top (OTT) services. Our multi-disciplinary team and global client base gives us an extensive understanding of the business issues and legal challenges in the sector.
Our media, entertainment and sports clients trust us to guide them through the disruptive new technologies and shifting regulatory environment. The dynamic environment presents tremendous opportunities and challenges with respect to corporate advisory, consumer protection, digital regulation and AI, M&A / JVs, merger control, antitrust and competition, and IP / content distribution and licensing, disputes, compliance investigations and key employment matters. Our strength is the ability to bring expertise from our global team across industry and legal practices to give our clients the confidence they require when making bet-the-company decisions.
Recent client successes
Advising Comcast and its parent NBCUniversal on its rival bid to 21st Century Fox for control of Sky.
The transaction received ‘Deal of the Year’ and helped Freshfields win the ‘UK M&A Legal Advisor of The Year’ accolade. This included obtaining regulatory clearance and supporting Comcast through a rare auction process.
Advising Flutter Entertainment, a global sports betting, gaming and entertainment provider, on its merger with The Stars Group, a global leader in the online, mobile gaming and interactive entertainment industry.
Flutter Entertainment, previously Paddy Power BetFair, and its merger with The Stars Group created a global leader in sports betting and gaming.
Representing Axel Springer on its acquisition of Allbritton, including publications POLITICO, Protocol and POLITICO Europe (a joint venture with Allbritton).
Over its 15-year history, POLITICO has emerged as one of the world’s most influential new sources. Axel Springer is the largest digital publishing house in Europe, with numerous brands such as Bild, Die Welt and Fakt, and is active in more than 40 countries.
Advising numerous English Premier League football clubs, and various other clubs in other divisions, countries and sports, on their most challenging mandates.
Freshfields advised on the acquisition of many large clubs, such as the last change of ownership at Liverpool, Manchester United, Newcastle United and West Ham United, and smaller clubs such as the acquisition by City Football of Lommel SK in Belgium and Thomas Sandgaard's purchase of Charlton Athletic. We advised on investments in sports leagues, on financial fair play regulations and on other sports regulation, including the successful challenge of a UEFA ban from the UEFA Champions League.
Our global experience in the sports sector includes more than 100 arbitrations before specialist sports tribunals.
These tribunals have been organised by, among others, the Court of Arbitration for Sport, the US Olympic Committee, the Basketball Arbitral Tribunal, World Rugby, the FA Premier League, the Union of European Football Associations, and the International Tennis Federation.
Awards & Recognitions
Who’s Who Legal Awards 2022: M&A Firm of the Year
Chambers Global 2022: 101 top-tier Band 1 rankings, Corporate/M&A, Competition/Antitrust, Dispute Resolution, Tax and Public International Law practices (165 ranked departments and 230 ranked lawyers)