Summer of Sports

12th February 2024

Abby Mercer, Trainee Solicitor in our Licensing team looks at the sporting events taking place this year and the necessary licensing requirements your business might need.

The Grand National, the Euros, Wimbledon – summer and sports go hand in hand. But do you have the necessary requirements to show sporting events at your licensed premises this summer? Our Licensing Team look at the permissions you might need, and what factors you might need to consider.

The broadcasting of live TV is not a Licensable Activity under the Licensing Act 2003, and therefore no changes would be required to your premises licence to permit this (unless you happen to have any specific conditions prohibiting or restricting the showing of live sport). You’ll just need to ensure that your licence permits opening and other licensable activities for the hours that you’re intending to be open and trading for any given sporting event. If any event will continue outside of your ordinary hours, you will need a TEN to cover the additional trading period.

You will also need to ensure that you have the appropriate commercial  TV Licence to show live matches on terrestrial television and/or have the relevant commercial subscription to show live matches on subscription-based channels.

You should be aware that the broadcasting of anything on television that is not live sport or live/rolling news has implications from a copyright perspective. If you want to show matches which aren’t live, or intend to leave the TV rolling after a sporting event has ended, you will likely need to seek a film/motion picture licence to cover the copyright in the media you are broadcasting.

Note also, that, as a general rule, if you are playing music at your premises (either as background or as part of a broadcast), the copyright elements of this will need to be covered by PRS/PPL licences.

Another matter to consider is where you want to display the match. For big events like the upcoming Euros many premises like to erect screens outdoors to make the most of the sunshine (if it arrives) and to maximise space. Happily, again, the displaying of live sport is not a licensable activity even if it is outside. However, you’ll need to consider whether any other licensable activities are taking place in the area – for example do you want to erect a temporary bar outside too, to allow you sell alcohol? If you propose to do this in a currently unlicensed area, you would need to look at a variation to your licence or temporary events notices. Or, do any conditions attached to your premises licence prohibit you from using external speakers? If so, again, this would need to be addressed by a variation or temporary removal of the conditions through temporary events notices.

You will also need to consider the ownership of the area where you intend to erect a screen. If it is private land, this is more straightforward, but the use of a public highway for these purposes would require permission from the local authority.

In summary, showing sporting events at any time can be a great way to boost trade, but does require some planning and preparing to ensure that all regulatory requirements are adhered to.

If you have specific queries with regards to any of the issues covered above, and how they might impact on your premises or planned event please contact our Legal 500 Tier 1 Licensing team on 0161 832 3434.

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