Fri, April 01, 2022

Legal implications of NFTs in sports

Legal implications of NFTs in sports

Legal implications of NFTs in sports

Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) have quickly become established as a new means of fan engagement in the sporting space, with various high-profile teams and organisations rolling out their own digital collectibles. NFTs are giving athletes, sports leagues, teams a whole new way to generate revenue from their loyal fan base.

NFTs for sports media will generate more than US$2 billion in transactions in 2022, about double the figure for 2021, according to research from Deloitte.

Sports federations and clubs have scrambled to get in on NFTs. With NFT sales now running into billions, the market faces issues that touch on many areas of law - from copyright and intellectual property rights (IPRs) to anti-money laundering regulations and name-image-likeness (NIL). It is expected that platforms and rights creators will continue testing different ownership models to determine the optimal balance of fuelling consumer demand and maintaining IPRs that respect existing third-party rights over the underlying digital assets. For instance it has been reported that the Premier League and UEFA are taking legal advice over the use of images of their trophies in NFT digital assets being promoted by John Terry and other big names in English football.

In this session we will explain what NFTs are and the legal issues sporting organisations should be aware of before they enter the industry.

Speaker Profile

 Alex Kelham, Lewis Silkin

Alex is a Partner at Lewis Silkin LLP and leads the firm’s Sports Business Group. She is a sports lawyer specialising in commercial and IP matters. Alex drafts and negotiates multi-million pound global sponsorship agreements and advises on all aspects of sports marketing, licensing and events. She also works with new and innovative tech platforms, particularly in areas where sport, entertainment and advertising meet. In this context she regularly advises on broadcast deals and advertising and media regulation.  Alex increasingly supports  clients on contractual and IP matters relating to NFTs, the metaverse and other tech trends. She is also an expert on ambush marketing and regularly advises on athlete image rights, brand protection and endorsement deals.

Alex knows the sports industry from multiple perspectives: she swam at an international level, worked in house in the London 2012 legal team, and is a non-executive director of British Swimming. She now advises athletes, clubs/teams and federations across a wide range of sports as well as agencies, sports tech businesses and sponsoring brands.

Alex is recognised in as a Leading Individual in Legal 500 and as a Ranked Lawyer in Chambers & Partners UK for Sport.





Sport Resolutions Annual Conference 2022 in association with Winston & Strawn LLP will take place on Thursday 5th May 2022 at the five-star Leonardo Royal London Hotel St Paul's (formerly the Grange St. Paul’s Hotel).

As with past events we will have an esteemed panel of sport professionals and industry experts to discuss the latest news and ideas in the areas of anti-doping, athlete welfare, good governance and integrity. 

This year we are planning to increase the number of sessions to six in order to cover more topics and increase audience engagement. Two of these will last one hour each, with the remaining four at 30-45 minutes each.

We will be announcing the conference topics in due course on our website and via newsletter. The event agenda can be seen on the conference page.


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