With sports becoming multi-billion dollar enterprises and athletes becoming brands unto themselves, the commercial implications for all involved are enormous. And the potential for consumers to be deceived doubly so.
Patronage and advancement of sports and sportspersons was until quite recently reliant on government funding and programs but, happily, sports other than those traditionally seen as commercially viable are increasingly finding private investment. Commercial interest in sports has manifested for the most part in broadcast, sponsorship, merchandising and licensing, and intellectual property typically signifies a large part of the value. The hierarchical structure in a large number of sports bodies, from the sportsperson to the sporting club and the governing association, adds complexity to control and monetisation of brands and merchandise.
Given the unique interaction between sporting leagues and the sporting framework, non-adherence to or variation in sporting code has the potential of affecting business models and livelihoods. Though India has an amalgamated National Sports Development Code to regulate the constitution of sports federations and prevent doping, national sports legislation is yet to be codified.
The Firm represents a cross-section of the sporting fraternity, including national and international sports management organisations, sportspersons, sporting leagues and sporting foundations. Our practice is informed by all perspectives of the sports industry, be it broadcasters, governing bodies, right holders, brands and sponsors, agencies or athletes and we provide services for anti-ambush marketing strategies, sponsorship, brand acquisition and syndication, merchandising and licensing. The Firm also engages actively with the government and stakeholders in the sports community in policy decision-making and has provided input as amicus towards future sports legislation.