Overview

With the Olympics and the Euro Championship taking place this summer, it’s no surprise sport has been dominating the headlines. Whether it’s the reorganisation of the football league system or shirt sponsorships in the NBA, how we watch and enjoy sport is evolving. 

Here at DLA Piper, we are working to keep you abreast of local and international changes in MSE. Just last week we updated our HUB content about the German MSE legal market, and we expect to launch US information in the coming months. Visit the HUB to review the new content, read our latest blog posts and find out about the string of webinars we have planned for the year.

Updates

Football clubs in England are being asked to consider the reorganisation of the domestic league system into five divisions of 20 teams from the 2019/20 season. Under the proposal, the Football League would become a four-division competition below the Premier League, including a new League Three, with 100 clubs competing across the professional game. In addition, the League Cup and League Trophy will be retained with the latter potentially having a revised format include a group structure of three games before becoming a knockout competition thereafter. Any final decisions on this proposal would not need to be made by Football League clubs until their AGM in June 2017, enabling full consultation with clubs and stakeholders, including fans. 

As mentioned above, in the US the National Basketball Association has announced it will allow teams to add corporate sponsorship patches to team jerseys starting in the 2017-18 season. Half of this additional advertising revenue will go to the team and the rest will go into the league’s revenue-sharing pool. With this decision, the NBA becomes the first of the big four North American sports leagues to add a sponsor logo to its game jersey. Could the other leagues follow suit? Watch this space, and follow our blog, to keep an eye on this story as it develops. 

Moving to media, EY has released its 14th biannual Media & Entertainment Global Capital Confidence Barometer (CCB), finding 45 percent of media and entertainment (M&E) executives expect to actively pursue acquisitions in the next 12 months despite wavering confidence in the economy. The Barometer also reported that M&E executives are actively looking toward international expansion, with 78 percent planning to pursue cross-border acquisitions during the next 12 months. The UK and US are the top two investment destinations, followed by France, Canada and China. 

The European Commission has taken its latest step in implementing its Digital Single Market strategy by publishing a draft regulation on geo-blocking. The draft regulation prohibits (i) the blocking of access to websites and other online interfaces and the rerouting of customers from one country version to another and (ii) discrimination against customers on the grounds of nationality, residence or establishment in three specific cases of the sale of goods and services. Audio-visual content services are one of three sectors excluded from the scope of this regulation. The European Commission has announced it will be seeking to impose a quota for on-demand and streaming video services, such as Netflix and Amazon Prime, of at least 20 percent European content across its film and TV catalogues. The Commission is also pushing to allow individual EU member states to force on-demand and streaming services to invest directly in European film and TV series through production or as a levy out of revenues payable into a fund. 

Gambling always features heavily in the MSE update and this month Australia has announced new protections for consumers and tougher laws against overseas gambling providers in response to the O'Farrell Review into Illegal Offshore Wagering. The Review found that Australian regulations are fragmented and inconsistent and existing enforcement measures are ineffective in combatting illegal offshore wagering services. According to the Review, Australians lost an estimated AU$400 million betting in this illegal industry in 2014, which is expected to increase to AU$910 million by 2020. 

In the advertising world, Germany has passed new legislation to implement the Tobacco Products Directive (2014/40/EU). In 2014, the Community legislature adopted a restrictive approach to advertising electronic cigarettes and refill containers that contain nicotine due to potential health hazards. Therefore the newly passed Act on Tobacco and Related Products – such as electronic cigarettes and refill containers that contain nicotine − contains a legal ban on advertising tobacco and related products in print media, radio, television and the Internet. As if that were not enough, the German legislature has already initiated procedures to extend the scope of this ban to prohibit advertising of electronic cigarettes and refill containers that are nicotine-free. 

MSE blog updates

These are the most popular of the new posts on our Media, Sport and Entertainment blog: