Contact The Team


* indicates required



quotes As our population ages, keeping the nation active, fit and healthy will reap dividends of its own, both for the participants themselves and for the taxpayers, funding our health services and the nation’s investment in sport. John Treacy, Chief Executive Officer,
Sport Ireland commenting in The Philip Lee Sport Report

The business of sport is worth billions to the Irish economy. Our sport group advises many public and private entities in the health and sport sectors. The group is led by Philip Lee and Eoin Brereton. Anne Bateman is the firm’s data protection partner and advises our sport sector clients on all aspects of intellectual property, data protection and privacy.

Complementing our work in traditional sectors, our sports team, together with those in corporate, technology, media and entertainment, collectively advise publishers, broadcasters, sponsors, teams and investors involved in eSports.  Given the existing breadth of the gaming sector, Ireland and the UK are well positioned to lead the European charge in this buoyant sector.

We advise on the following areas:

  • Commercial contracts
  • Corporate governance
  • Data protection and privacy
  • EU and competition law
  • Health and safety
  • Intellectual property
  • Licensing
  • Lobbying
  • Media rights
  • Procurement
  • Sponsorship

In Philip Lee, we encourage an ethos of sport, wellbeing and community. The Philip Lee Charity Cycle and our sponsorship of various sport events, aligns the firm with this philosophy.

Society recognises the incredible value of sport to our health, to addressing the needs of children and to halting the increasing rate of obesity. Read about sport related consumer spending, participation, sponsorship, policy and professionalism in The Philip Lee Sport Report.

We advise on sport, live it and love the results it can bring. This is a growing sector for us and one which we greatly enjoy working in.

Array ( [0] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 4964 [post_author] => 13 [post_date] => 2017-02-21 07:13:13 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-02-21 07:13:13 [post_content] =>


“Since our first Philip Lee Sport Report in 2014 and following a steady return to growth in the economy, recovery in consumer spending and the emergence of a more diverse media landscape, sport is now more accessible to viewers and fans than ever before. But it’s not just about entertainment. Sport is a big business worth billions to the Exchequer annually, playing its part in the creation of jobs and revenue for the economy. Our latest survey reflects the stark reality that while we’re spending more money with the sport business (€2.5 billion in 2016 vs €2.4 billion in 2014), as citizens we’re spending less time on sports and activity. That clearly presents challenges for the future, particularly around Government policy and the promotion of sport in addition to physical well-being and the general health of the nation. In that context, it’s interesting to note the finding that an emphatic 86% of respondents believe that greater participation in sport by children when at school would help reduce the incidence of childhood obesity. That’s according to Philip Lee, the firm’s managing partner at the launch of the second Philip Lee Sport Report. Conducted by research firm Amárach, the survey provides a comprehensive snapshot of sport in Ireland. It looks at the levels of interest and participation in sport, examines sports-related commitment and spending, explores the changing landscape of sport sponsorship and advertising and looks at perceptions of how well the Government is doing with sport policy. The Report also includes exclusive commentary by Olympics silver medal winner Annalise Murphy, rugby legend Ronan O’Gara, John Treacy, Olympian and Chief Executive, Sport Ireland, Sarah Keane, newly appointed President of the Olympic Council of Ireland, Philip Browne, Chief Executive, Irish Rugby Football Union and parkrun County Manager Matt Shields. Key findings include:
  • 2.7 million Irish adults are interested in sport and exercise while 2.6 million adults participate in sports or other physical activity in Ireland
  • While the average active adult spends over two hours a week in physical activities such as walking etc. participation has FALLEN on average by 16 minutes since 2014. Men now spend more time than women on sport and exercise, while older people spend more time than younger people on activity.
  • 44% those polled agreed with the sentiment that Sports Ireland (formally the Irish Sports Council) should reduce its support for the Olympic Council of Ireland considering the ticketing scandal.
  • An emphatic 86% of respondents believe that greater participation in sport by children when at school would help reduce the incidence of childhood obesity - video games and digital devices were blamed as major distractions to activity.
  • 68% believes that funding to sports in Ireland should be increased. 81% would like to see increased funding for sport used to encourage greater participation in sport generally throughout Ireland. By contrast only 15% felt that increased funding should go to improving elite level sport performance so Irish players and athletes can be more successful in international competitions.
  • Regarding women in sport, it appears that male dominance is still a problem in this country. Nearly half of those surveyed (44%) have not watched any women’s sporting events in the past six months and three in four have not attended any female sporting events.
  • Asked how sport should be funded and supported, 64% believed that government funding was the way forward, 53% said sponsorship income while 42% identified revenues from specific taxes on gambling.
  • 50% feel that the GAA is becoming too professional for an amateur sport by introducing professional training regimes that lead to burn out and increased levels of injury.
  • MMA star Conor McGregor and rugby player Paul O’Connell tie for the title of Ireland’s favourite male sporting personality while boxer Katie Taylor is the outright favourite female sporting personality. 42% agree or strongly agree with the notion that MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) is a sport we can be proud of in Ireland due to the success of Conor McGregor.
  • Walking (55%), fitness (28%) swimming (23%) and running (22%) are the most popular activities - largely unchanged since 2014 (See Editor’s Note 3 for further analysis).
  • The average sports fan spends around €260 per annum on the various matches, heats and finals that attract them. Though this figure is down significantly from an average of €340 in 2014. The active Irish spend on sports gear has increased since 2014, to an average of €195 from €172: on top of their other sports commitments. This increase speaks to the growing trend of sportswear fashion. Women now outspend men when it comes to sports gear, a switch in the gender balance since 2014 (2016 average female €220 vs male spend of €171).
  • On the 2023 Rugby World Cup, 68% agree or strongly agree with the Government decision to bid to host the event with 76% believing that hosting such a major sporting event will have a positive economic impact.
[post_title] => The Philip Lee Sport Report II [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => the-philip-lee-sport-report-ii [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-09-22 15:24:44 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-09-22 15:24:44 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) )
Array ( [0] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 1547 [post_author] => 13 [post_date] => 2014-11-19 22:01:42 [post_date_gmt] => 2014-11-19 22:01:42 [post_content] => Working with the firm, Amárach Research conducted a national study into the contribution of sport in Ireland.  It focused on people’s sporting interests, sports-related spending habits and views on policies affecting sport.  The findings are compiled in this report under topics such sponsorship, professionalism, gambling, entertainment and technology.  Included in the report are expert opinions from highly qualified and respected sport contributors Niall Quinn, Pat Gilroy, John Treacy and Ger Gilroy.   [post_title] => The Philip Lee Sport Report [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => the-philip-lee-sport-report [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-09-22 15:26:09 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-09-22 15:26:09 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) )

Working with the firm, Amárach Research conducted a national study into the...

See Full Article
Array ( [0] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 8034 [post_author] => 13 [post_date] => 2018-11-08 14:25:33 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-11-08 14:25:33 [post_content] => Over the last 10 years, the eSports sector has been subject to a stratospheric rise.  We are a far cry away from the days when competitive gaming was perceived to be a group of teenage guys connecting their PCs over a LAN network in their living room.  Today, organisers of competitions involving leading platforms are filling stadiums with fans watching their favourite team play their favourite game (with millions more watching over streaming services such as Twitch and prize pools of $20m+).  What has fuelled this growth and what does the future hold for this buoyant sector?   With a value of $109bn in 2017 after sustained year-on-year growth of 6% during 2012 - 2016, the video gaming market is currently the fastest growing entertainment industry in the world. Players are spending more time and more money, across more devices than ever before. One of the biggest factors for growth is eSports (competitive gaming) which has become the micro-economy spawning growth in the games industry.   Whilst the eSports industry experienced growth of 38% during 2017 and is estimated to be worth $5bn by 2020, given its ongoing growth trajectory this valuation is likely to be the tip of the iceberg. This revenue and audience growth is driven by a number of factors including mass media investment (from the likes of ESPN, BT Sport and YouTube), the development of professional eSports leagues (notably the Overwatch League, Intel Extreme Masters and League of Legends Masters Series) and, perhaps the biggest factor, non-endemic sponsorship from heavy-weights Adidas, VISA and Pepsi.   Regarding sponsorship and advertising in particular, brands and mass media seem to be embracing this high value and hard to reach audience. Whilst millennials are often regarded as  a challenging demographic to target, for men in the US aged between 21 - 35 eSports is as popular as baseball and hockey with 22% of this demographic watching eSports frequently. Video games have also become a global spectator sport – of the 200m+ occasional viewers and eSports enthusiasts, 40% do not play the games they watch and all this at a time when traditional sports audiences are declining.   Whilst the eSports opportunity for publishers and intellectual property (IP) owners looks very positive, continued growth is not without its risks and substantive hurdles. For example, balancing the various interests and potentially conflicting IP rights of all the parties involved in live eSports events (being teams, individual players, sponsors, publishers, investors, and accessory and hardware providers) can often prove problematic. Arguable the greatest challenge to overcome is both the lack of a recognised governance system and the absence of industry assurance models across all areas of eSports from league structure, rules and player/team contracts, to marketing and promotion, prize pool funds and live streaming.   Despite the relative infancy of eSports as an industry, it continues to attract sizeable investment. Sustained growth and the protection of the industry, its players, brand sponsors, IP owners and audience is vital. The implementation of structured regulation along with an acceptance that every tournament, league and team operates to the highest possible standards, will play a significant role in the industry’s efforts to be ever more prevalent.     [post_title] => The Rise and Rise of eSports [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => the-rise-and-rise-of-esports [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-11-08 14:25:33 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-11-08 14:25:33 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) )

Over the last 10 years, the eSports sector has been subject to...

See Full Article
Array ( [0] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 3603 [post_author] => 13 [post_date] => 2016-03-24 12:12:08 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-03-24 12:12:08 [post_content] => The compulsory introduction of transfer windows by FIFA in 2002-2003 significantly reduced worker mobility given that the effect of transfer windows on Europe’s domestic leagues is that transfers can only occur during the ‘close season’ and during the months of August and January.   However the validity of transfer windows (in terms of rules relating to freedom of movement) was upheld by the ECJ as far back as 1996 in the Lethonen Case[1]. That case involved the introduction of transfer windows in professional basketball and held that they were justified on the basis of ensuring team stability and ‘regularity’ of sporting competition.   The 12 month transfer ban[2] recently imposed by FIFA on both Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid for breaching rules on the international transfer and registration of players aged under 18 has already been suspended pending the outcome of each clubs appeal to the FIFA appeal committee.  Should the FIFA appeal committee uphold the bans it may be that the question as to whether such sanctions are proportionate and whether such restrictions may constitute a breach of the protections conferred by Article 40, Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) in relation to the freedom of movement of workers, will be raised in any appeals brought thereafter.   In September 2015, FIFPro, the union for professional footballers representing in excess of 65,000 players from around the world lodged a formal complaint[3] with the Directorate General for Competition of the European Commission, against FIFA and its member associations, challenging the global transfer market system for football as being, in its view, anti-competitive, unjustified and illegal. The complaint is brought pursuant to Articles 101 and 102 of the TFEU, which prohibit agreements, decisions and practices which limit competition, as well as the abuse of a dominant market position.   Developments in these cases will undoubtedly continue to attract huge media coverage but the possible legal issues arising mean that these cases will also be followed with interest by lawyers throughout Europe.       [1] Case C-176/96 Lethonen & Castors Canada Dry Namur – Braine v Federation Royale Belge des Societes de Basketball ASBL. [2] The restriction is on the registration of new players by the banned club and not the acquisition meaning that players can be acquired but until the player is registered, that player cannot play for the banned club. [3]   [post_title] => Transfer bans – Real Madrid & Atletico Madrid, Freedom of Movement v Fair Competition [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => transfer-bans-real-madrid-atletico-madrid-freedom-of-movement-v-fair-competition [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-03-24 12:12:08 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-03-24 12:12:08 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) )

The compulsory introduction of transfer windows by FIFA in 2002-2003 significantly reduced...

See Full Article
Array ( [0] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 3531 [post_author] => 13 [post_date] => 2016-03-10 11:25:00 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-03-10 11:25:00 [post_content] =>
The FA v Jake Livermore
The English Football Association brought a case under its Anti-Doping Regulations (which reflect the 2009 WADA Code) against Jake Livermore, the Hull City player, for an in-competition positive test for the prohibited substance, cocaine in April 2015.   The FA Regulatory Commission found in favour of Livermore, applying the proportionality principle despite there being no substantial dispute of fact between the FA and Livermore.   The Commission found no significant fault or negligence on the part of Livermore on the basis that a significant personal tragedy adversely affected his mental health. The degree of impairment caused by this tragedy was such that concepts such as fault and appropriateness of sanction became entirely inappropriate in the circumstances.   In their decision, the Commission found that this was an extreme and unique case in which the imposition of a one year suspension pursuant to Regulation 70 of their Regulations would be wholly unfair as well as evidently and grossly disproportionate.   It was therefore held that the WADA Code minimum sanctions may be disregarded in exceptional cases if the sanction provided for would not be “just and proportionate” in the circumstances.   It remains to be seen whether this decision will be followed as precedent going forward, however from a social perspective, it must be seen as a positive step as the Commission’s decision acknowledges the existence of serious mental health issues in professional sportspeople and treated the individual in a compassionate manner taking into account his personal circumstances. The fact that the prohibited substance was not a performance enhancing substance was undoubtedly an important factor in the Commission’s decision. [post_title] => Non-application of the mandatory penalty on grounds of proportionality [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => non-application-of-the-mandatory-penalty-on-grounds-of-proportionality [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-03-10 11:25:00 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-03-10 11:25:00 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) )

The FA v Jake Livermore The English Football Association brought a case under...

See Full Article
Array ( [0] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 3505 [post_author] => 13 [post_date] => 2016-02-16 12:44:01 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-02-16 12:44:01 [post_content] => Ambush marketing is a marketing strategy whereby a rival company attempts to create an association with an event that already has official sponsors, seeking to take advantage of the publicity value of a major event without financially contributing to the event through sponsorship.   What protection does the existing law provide to event holders in Ireland and the UK against its competitors from engaging in such activities?   Depending on the calibre of the event, special anti-ambush marketing laws and protected “clean” zones may be enacted and implemented around the stadia/venues to protect the event’s official sponsors.   These laws create an “association right” to prohibit and prevent ambush marketing. Despite these special event laws being implemented at events such as London Olympics 2012 and the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, recent event organisers of similar size events like the Rugby World Cup 2015 and the UEFA European Championships 2020 encountered significant resistance from lawmakers in creating similar laws. Lawmakers cite the availability of existing laws such as Trademark, Copyright and Passing Off as adequate to deal with any potential ambush marketing.   The question arises as to whether this is a responsible attitude by lawmakers towards official sponsors and whether the absence of adequate protection for official sponsors will have the effect of them being exposed to competitors undermining their investment, thereby potentially reducing the incentive for future sponsor investment. This is an area that will need consideration in Ireland particularly in the context of the current bid to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup. We expect to see significant development over the coming year and we shall continue to monitor developments in this area given the real commercial concerns arising for both event organisers and potential sponsors. [post_title] => Ambush marketing at major sporting events – are there adequate protective measures? [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => ambush-marketing-at-major-sporting-events-are-there-adequate-protective-measures [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-02-16 12:44:01 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-02-16 12:44:01 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) )

Ambush marketing is a marketing strategy whereby a rival company attempts to...

See Full Article
Array ( [0] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 3502 [post_author] => 13 [post_date] => 2016-02-16 12:40:31 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-02-16 12:40:31 [post_content] => Concussion is defined as a traumatic brain injury that alters the way the brain functions. It is identified as one of the most complex and difficult injuries in sports medicine to diagnose, owing to the likelihood of a delayed onset of a cognitive deficit.   In August 2013 a $765m financial settlement was reached between the NFL and a substantial group of former players. The basis for this settlement came from the increased concern about the existence of neuro-cognitive disorders among former American Football players which had been caused by repeated concussions sustained whilst playing in the NFL exacerbated by the misinformation given to players about this throughout the duration of their careers.   This payout, in addition to the high profile concussions of elite rugby players such as George North, Mike Brown and Jonathan Sexton in the 2015 RBS Six Nations Tournament has firmly placed concussion injuries into the public spotlight.   A legitimate concern for governing bodies going forward is whether the concussion debate might move to the courts and subsequently result in a shift towards identifying the liability of related parties. It is important that governing bodies raise awareness within their sports as to how liability would be assessed in order to bring about an improvement in how concussions are managed thereby improving player welfare.   In 2012 the IRB introduced the Pitchside Suspected Concussion Assessment (PSCA) in an effort to address the issue of liability. However the guidelines have been widely criticised by healthcare professionals and sportsmen alike, citing the immense difficulty in attempting to diagnose concussion within a constricted timeframe and in a highly pressurised situation.   In light of the potential move towards increased litigation in this area, we anticipate that the three key areas of liability in concussion injuries in sport will be:  
  • Employers Liability
  • Clinical Negligence (after consultation with a club doctor)
  • Contributory Negligence (the player’s responsibility, conclusive evidence of which will reduce damages)
Governing bodies must bear in mind what they have done and indeed what they intend to do going forward, to limit their exposure and liability in any future litigation. [post_title] => Incidents of concussion – who is responsible? [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => incidents-of-concussion-who-is-responsible [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-02-16 13:18:46 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-02-16 13:18:46 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) )

Concussion is defined as a traumatic brain injury that alters the way...

See Full Article
Array ( [0] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 5199 [post_author] => 9 [post_date] => 2017-03-22 11:57:26 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-03-22 11:57:26 [post_content] => The Irish Sports Awards is an annual award ceremony which took place last month. Created and hosted by Business2Sports and Business & Finance Media Group, the Irish Sports Awards recognised those outstanding sports people whom we believe make significant contributions to Irish Sports in a local and global context. In addition to the recognition of current sportspeople across a range of disciplines, we were one of the main sponsors for this incredible event. Our managing Partner, Philip Lee, presented an award to the ‘The Legends Of Sport’ representing some of the greatest Irish sporting ambassadors of a generation which was awarded to the legendary George Hook, Brent Pope & Tom McGurk.   [post_title] => Irish Sports Awards 2017 [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => irish-sports-awards-2017 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-03-22 11:57:26 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-03-22 11:57:26 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) )

The Irish Sports Awards is an annual award ceremony which took place...

See Full Article

Get In Touch

Philip Lee

Anne Bateman

Eoin Brereton

Andrew Tzialli