Fountain Court Chambers

London & Singapore

Media, entertainment & sport

Most of Fountain Court’s media and entertainment work naturally arises in the context of its core commercial practice areas, although there is also a regulatory element.  Members of chambers have wide experience of dealing with commercial contracts between media organisations and companies, agencies, managers, promoters, trade associations, as well as disputes relating to media coverage rights.

Members have previously advised various TV production companies on contractual football coverage rights, as well as individual players on image rights and their protection; they have acted for Premiership and lower league football clubs and mediated between them and sponsors over their media obligations.

Fountain Court’s sports work is also heavily based on its core commercial practice areas, with the addition of a substantial regulatory element.  The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a large number of sponsorship disputes between sponsors, governing bodies and teams involving the effect of force majeure clauses and the principles of the law of frustration.

Members of Chambers have advised on disputes in almost every sport; from football, rugby union, Formula One motor racing and cricket to tennis, show-jumping and polo.  They have also acted for industry bodies such as Sport England and in cases involving sports law and finance, such as in the long-running Olympic Park dispute involving West Ham United, Leyton Orient, and Tottenham Hotspur.

Fountain Court has extensive experience in all kinds of media, entertainment and sports cases and provides advice in many sensitive and confidential matters.

Our work includes cases relating to:

  • Commercial contracts
  • Sponsorship disputes particularly arising out of COVID-19 issues
  • Fraud and negligence claims
  • Regulatory disputes
  • Intellectual property including copyright, royalties, trademark issues and image rights

Notable cases

  • Instructed by the defendant sports clothing manufacturer in a c.£2 million dispute concerning a rugby licensing agreement, involving (amongst other things) a dispute about the effect of a force majeure notice issued following the cancellation of fixtures as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Acting for Rangers Football Club in a dispute with Sports Direct concerning matching rights provisions in a retail agreement, raising issues regarding the proper interpretation of such provisions, as well as issues relating to deceit, economic torts and injunctions.
  • Acting for a video game studio in a dispute concerning the development of a fantasy action role-playing game for Windows, Xbox One and PS4.
  • Acting for a major publisher in a dispute with a high-profile celebrity relating to the payment of advances under a book publishing contract and the impact of the celebrity not attending a schedule of agreed PR events in the run up to the launch of the hardback version of his biography.
  • Acting for Cian O’Connor in the Court of Arbitration for Sport appeal filed by Horse Sport Ireland and Mr O’Connor against the decision rendered by the FEI Appeal Committee which meant the Irish team did not qualify for the Olympic Games in Rio in 2016.
  • Instructed by the respondent in on notice proceedings for an injunction in a dispute concerning distribution rights to a season of the television series The Walking Dead.
  • Representing Cardiff City Football Club in three separate sets of proceedings against its former head coach and others in relation to claims of conspiracy, misrepresentation, and unjust enrichment.
  • Defending the boxer Ricky Burns in respect of claims arising from management and promotion agreements concluded between him and Frank Warren.