The Times of London reports that while the England cricket team may have failed at this World Cup – the lawyers have done very well.
It is true that, more than most, sports lawyers manage to align their passions with their work, but that doesn’t mean they work any less hard. A look behind the scenes at the tournament shows that legal advisers are involved with everything from broadcasting rights to player discipline.
In fact, even as this World Cup nears its climax, they are already busy negotiating future events. Richard Verow, the International Cricket Council’s commercial lawyer, is currently putting together rights packages for the next eight years, his mind occupied not with the failures of Michael Vaughan’s side but with the 2011 World Cup in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh and the 2015 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
“Our media rights tender has gone out and we’ve appointed ESPN Star Sports as global audio-visual rights holders for the next eight years,” he says. “Now we’re looking at sponsorship deals and all the other bits and pieces that are integral to a well-run tournament.”
ESPN Star Sports is understood to have paid in the region of $1.1 billion for the rights, approximately double that of the ICC’s previous deal with the Global Cricket Corporation (GCC). The package covers 18 ICC events, beginning in September this year with the Twenty20 World Cup in South Africa. Verow is a fan of the Twenty20 format: “It’s an intense burst of cricket, very popular with families and a great way of getting the game to a wider audience,” he says.