K&L Gates bats for ICC on Cricket World Cup broadcast rights sale

K&L Gates has scored the lead role advising world cricket governing body the International Cricket Council (ICC) on the sale of its global media rights.

The firm acted for the ICC on its eight-year global media rights sale by tender to ESPN Star Sports (ESS), which will cover two Cricket World Cups between 2007 and 2015.

Herbert Smith broadcast head Nick Elverstone advised ESS. K&L Gates sports head Warren Phelops led a fourpartner team on the deal for longstanding client ICC.

Phelops said: “I think we’ve now acted on the media rights sale for almost every single Cricket World Cup from 1996 until 2015.”

He added that this run does not include the 1999 World Cup, when the ICC brought in Denton Wilde Sapte sports partner Adrian Barr-Smith to advise.

Phelops has worked with the ICC since 1996, when he moved from Slaughter and May to K&L Gates legacy firm Nicholson Graham & Jones to set up the sports practice there.

On this deal K&L Gates put forward a team comprising corporate partner John Elgar, finance partner Richard Talbot and IP partner Nigel Davies.

Phelops said the large team indicated the growing complexity of sports deals. He added: “It’s a big deal and that’s representative of the market. The blue-chip end of the work is specialised from an industry point of view, as well as from a legal and technical point of view.

“There’s been a sudden escalation very recently in media rights values driven by technology.”

The rapid commercialisation of sport has led to a bumper year for sport lawyers.

Last week’s transfer of Carlos Tevez from West Ham United FC to Manchester United FC employed five partners at three law firms as well as two barristers because of a dispute surrounding the ownership of the player’s media rights.