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Rapid growth in the sector reveals opportunities for exploitation of data, but also numerous challenges for stakeholders to tackle and be mindful of.

The value of sports data rights is a growing business, with extensive cross-industry engagement.

Sports teams and leagues to gambling companies, fans and the athletes themselves all appear to want in on the action.

With sports data widely recognised, not only as a pastime or recreation, but as an industry in its own right, we consider below some legal and commercial developments stirring the industry.  


Athlete data continues to be of significant value for performance analysis.

While the traditional methods of exploitation of image and other personal and performance data, including for advertising, performance analysis, betting and video gaming purposes remain relevant, we are increasingly seeing the innovation of new avenues for exploitation by different stakeholders.

As innovation develops, the question of which stakeholders own the rights to this data, who is permitted to exploit those rights and the terms on which such exploitation can be undertaken, become more important. 


As the value of sports data continues to rise, disputes over the exploitation of data also appear to be on the increase. Recent challenges to live sports data rights have, for instance, led to ongoing uncertainty over the exploitation of data and the extent to which exclusive grants of live data rights could be considered anti-competitive.


Clubs, event organisers and governing bodies have traditionally assumed control when it comes to exploitation of athlete image rights and sports data. However, we are increasingly seeing athletes challenging this position.

In the case dubbed ‘Project Red Card’, it is alleged that the defendants are processing the footballers’ personal data in breach of data protection laws and that the data is being exploited for financial gain without the players’ consent.

Such disputes over ownership, reflect the value of those assets to all stakeholders and case developments, will no doubt, be watched by all stakeholders closely.


Technological developments within the sports data industry are generating more data that can be exploited and pose additional challenges to overcome. 

Recent technological developments include, for example, wearable technology and the dawn of smart stadiums which aim to increase security, wellbeing and enhance the commercial offerings to fans.


The commercial and legal developments highlighted above, reveal a sector that has experienced rapid growth in opportunities for exploitation of data, not to mention, numerous challenges for stakeholders to overcome and be mindful of.

For expert advice in relation to all aspects of data protection, information governance, privacy, cyber liability and electronic communications contact our team of leading data protection solicitors.