MinterEllison, the Official Lawyers of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games, which commence today - and are the largest sporting event Australia will host this decade - has identified a new trend in the investment made by the region into Australian sporting events.
"We've seen first-hand over the last three years a definite increase in interest from overseas parties wanting to participate in the Australian sports and events industry," said sports law expert Paula Robinson, the MinterEllison partner leading the embedded Commonwealth Games legal team. "One of the key insights for me has been the growing impact and importance of sport and major sporting events – and indeed the investments made by the wider Asian region."
MinterEllison’s embedded team of seven legal experts providing a fully outsourced legal and brand protection service to the Games is a first. It is part of a three-year partnership with the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Corporation (GOLDOC) which commenced in 2015.
Ms Robinson said that with Australia’s reputation of being a reliable host of major international sporting events, and its growing ability to win prestigious hosting rights, has resulted in international investors seeking new ways to get involved and be ‘seen’ at these events.
"The MinterEllison sports law practice has seen a pattern of new wealth and sporting development/investment coming from the Asian region in particular," Ms Robinson said.
"Through the Commonwealth Games we've worked on many matters with parties from various nations – juggling expectations, requirements and demands across jurisdictions has been challenging, but being at the ‘pointy-end’ has really highlighted just how strong the interest is coming into Australia and the Games."
She said the trend was creating new opportunities in areas like broadcasting, sports infrastructure, tourism and sporting event delivery, but also for sport focussed professional services.
Locally, Australia hosts established international sporting events, including the Australian Grand Prix, Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race, and the Australian Tennis Open. Australia has also secured hosting rights to some high profile one-off events such as the Commonwealth Games, the Invictus Games, and the T20 Cricket World Cup.
"Sport is big business globally. The region is investing seriously. As disposable income from the region grows, nations are becoming more absorbed in sport. That means more complexity in professional advisory areas and a heightened focus on the legal, financial and governance infrastructure that sits behind sporting organisations and events."
When coupled with the dynamic path forward that sport is taking - the rise in interest in women's sport, like AFLW, and the emergence of new international competitions like the Rugby Tens rugby revolution – it is evident that future opportunities for professional services with strong sporting credentials are abundant.
"There are significant growth opportunities for Australian professional service firms wanting to position themselves as leaders in the Asia-Pacific region," said Ms Robinson. "This includes demand from clients seeking to better manage their presence at key sporting events and their involvement with high profile sporting organisations.”
MinterEllison is the only law firm in Australia with complete end-to-end major event project experience. The firm is also the official lawyers of the 2018 Invictus Games to be held in Sydney later this year.