Media, Sport and Entertainment
Guiding you through an ever-evolving landscape
We advise on every aspect of sector activity. This includes staging live sports, music and other events, developing arenas and theme parks, and acquiring, developing, producing and distributing content in all media. We also act on the buying and selling of companies and assets, protecting and enforcing IP rights, regulatory compliance, and hosting, promoting, producing and distributing content. In addition, we advise on anti-piracy matters, mitigating and resolving disputes, and borrowing, lending, investing, raising finance, and dealing with other corporate issues.
Our team helps buy and sell media and entertainment companies – in film, TV, cable and radio – and sports-related consumer brands. We also handle the underlying details, such as IP transfers, competition, lease reviews and closures, and tax rulings.
Gaming operators and suppliers, national and international governing bodies, promoters, studios, networks and producers trust us to build and protect their intellectual property and brands and help grow their businesses. We also act for talent agencies, music companies, brands and brand agencies, video game and interactive publishers and developers.
“DLA Piper has a team that is experienced in traditional as well as emerging media and entertainment projects. Their ability to blend the old and new models keeps them ahead of the curve.”
In the sports field, we advise everyone from lenders and investors to sports leagues and stadium and club owners. Our advice covers project finance, leveraged finance, securities offerings and government-sponsored financings. Other areas include hosting and rights agreements and sports sponsorship agreements across every professional sport. We advise sport administrators, enforce rules and conduct inquiries and disciplinary actions.
In emerging industries such as esports, we advise on fund raising, investments, acquisitions and content initiatives. With the increasing presence of blockchain and the metaverse, we are well placed to advise businesses on legal and regulatory compliance. We answer your questions on securities laws, tax, regulatory, antitrust, copyright, data privacy and security, licensing and more.
Our lawyers are based throughout the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific. We act for national, regional and global companies. We also work with investment banks, financial advisors and their clients, protecting their interests in complex financings. Always on top of trends in business models, we've devised several of the structures new to the sector.
This experience makes us a market leader. Our understanding of the way the sector works makes all the difference. It keeps clients moving forward and onto their next stage of growth.
ESG and Media, Sport and Entertainment
The global Media, Sport and Entertainment (MSE) sector faces a broad spectrum of sustainability and environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) challenges. Key sustainability issues across the sector include data privacy, diversity and inclusion, equality, anti-discrimination, competition, fraud and corruption. Social and governance issues are particularly prevalent in the sector, although, increasingly, attention is turning to environmental issues, such as high energy use, waste, and climate change concerns.
We advise a range of MSE clients, among them the world’s largest football league, top-tier professional sports franchises, leading global media outlets, premier advertising agencies and major Hollywood studios. This means we understand the sector is complex and multi-faceted, operates across multiple jurisdictions and responds to an array of different stakeholders. We have seen that businesses that respond to sustainability issues in a reactive, siloed manner may risk their market position, profit, access to capital and brand value.
We take a holistic approach to these complexities. We begin with our extensive experience advising clients on issues such as intellectual property protection, finance, corporate governance, regulatory compliance, media rights, antitrust and competition law, and disputes and crisis management. Our team combines this in-depth legal experience across the MSE sector with wider experience on cross-cutting ESG issues to offer our clients integrated, comprehensive advice whatever their circumstances – whether developing a sustainability strategy or managing disputes and crises.
Leaders in the transition to a sustainable future face not only risks and challenges but ample opportunities for growth. Our team strives to work with our clients to manage the risks and harness the opportunities in this transition.
Media, broadcasting and film
Media, broadcasting and film companies face systemic risks associated with customer engagement, data security and the right to privacy. Content regulation has moved beyond mere compliance; consumers have become social media activists and companies are judged for media bias, prejudice and discriminatory content. For example, film and content companies are exposed to key person risk and are highly vulnerable to social controversies which may result in program changes and cancellations. While social factors predominate, film studios and broadcasters today are also facing pressures to address environmental concerns – to limit emissions and ensure energy efficiency and to manage waste in high-budget productions.
For the publishing industry, the changing nature of its relationship with the consumer in the digital era has uncovered new sustainability challenges. Companies need to respond to customer concerns, particularly on data privacy and security, as well as regulatory concerns on anti-competitive practices and content regulation. Compliance in one area is often not enough to meet stakeholder expectations: for example, social movements are raising pressure on publishers to be accountable for content.
The shift to a greater emphasis on sustainability and ESG issues is particularly noticeable in the advertising sector, where brands are increasingly making claims about their products’ sustainability credentials and are also giving greater precedence to ethical issues in ad placement. Given the increased importance of sustainability issues to consumers, advertising regulators are more closely focusing on such matters. This means that compliance with advertising regulation around issues such as environmental ad claims, charity partnerships, and social cause-linked marketing campaigns is more important than ever before, for both advertisers and agencies.
Sports teams and leagues
The focus in sports has largely been on the social aspects of ESG, including anti-discrimination, equality and diversity and inclusion, as well as the governance aspects, such as fraud and corruption. Sports teams and leagues that have failed to meet stakeholder expectations – for example, with respect to racial inequities and sexual harassment – have faced social and stakeholder, including sponsor, backlash. In addition, stadiums are now routinely evaluated on environmental performance, including emissions, energy efficiency and waste management.
International events involve a range of sustainability considerations, from regulation of emissions, energy use and waste management to supply chain management, employment rights, and jurisdictional risks in each host country. The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, which swiftly led to the cancellation or postponement of competitions and performances on every level around the world, has shown how such large-scale events can be particularly vulnerable to social and environmental factors. Planning for events such as international sport competitions will continue to be challenging in the new normal.