Sports & Entertainment


Sports and Entertainment

Our lawyers are well versed with providing intellectual property, corporate/commercial, corporate finance and dispute resolution related services for clients operating in sports, media and entertainment sectors.

Prior to COVID-19, our sports and entertainment lawyers in China noticed a significant increase in demand for our services. In October 2014, the Chinese government released a policy document that outlined China’s plan to create the biggest sports industry in the world, with the target of five trillion RMB in annual revenue by 2025. Seeing an opportunity to engage and ultimately monetize on an enormous new consumer base, North American and European sports leagues and businesses, large and small, are investing into China. These are wide-ranging strategies covering sponsorships, staging events and selling merchandise, developing fitness apps and products, creating and operating youth sports leagues, selling products and services required for major sporting events, recruiting Chinese athletes for overseas sports and education camps and entering into strategic partnerships designed to develop sports from the bottom up.

At the same time, China is becoming the largest movie market in the world with theatre chains in China building as many as 25 movie screens a day. Online entertainment, such as esports which is now recognized as a professional job title in China, is also growing at an unprecedented pace, with Chinese consumers spending more than 4.7 hours per day on entertainment apps. Many international film producers and live entertainment companies have concluded that the time is right to enter into Chinese business markets as well; for example, Cirque du Soleil opened its first permanent show in a state-of-the art theatre in Hangzhou, China in 2018.

We have assisted a range of international sports and entertainment clients in recent years with with their business expansion plans in China and some have continued to expand their businesses elsewhere in Asia after experiencing success in China.

We commonly represent film, record label and audio-visual production businesses, live entertainment companies, gaming and information technology corporations, fitness, well-being and entertainment app developers, consulting, stage design, ticketing, sponsorship and merchandising companies that are providing services to sports and entertainment companies, youth and professional sports leagues, clubs, teams, organizations and high-profile individuals throughout Hong Kong, China, Japan and Singapore. Laws and regulations in these countries are constantly changing and having experience in and a specific focus on this business sector allows our partners to provide the timely and professional advice our clients require. Some of our partners are former athletes and others have been directly involved with developing entertainment companies, so we are passionate about these industries and strive to ensure that we provide the highest level of services for our clients.

Our lawyers and business professionals provide the following services for our clients in China, Hong Kong, Japan, Thailand and Southeast Asia:

  • Provision of corporate legal services and dispute resolution services
  • Establishment of corporate structures
  • Advisory work regarding local and international tax issues
  • Applications for performance licenses
  • Secondment agreements, short-term employment contracts and work permits for foreign artists
  • Trademark and Patent applications
  • Legal research regarding local and national labor, contact, corporate and other laws
  • Assistance with negotiating and drafting contracts for marketing and merchandising deals
  • International mergers,  acquisitions and restructurings
  • Arbitration proceedings before FIFA and the Court of Arbitration for Sport
  • Advising and acting for players during transfers and contract negotiations
  • Acting for clubs and managers on employment issues, including the negotiation of contracts and settlement agreements
  • Setting contractual and disciplinary disputes between teams and players and intermediaries
  • Advising teams, associations and individuals on regulatory and disciplinary matters in China, Asia and internationally
  • Drafting sponsorship, merchandising and licensing agreements and legal advice regarding the same