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Posted June 1, 2020

Why study an LLM in Sports Law?

LLM in Sports LawThe world of sports is a huge business worth around $488.5 billion annually around the world, and that means that there are loads of places where Sports Law specialist skills are needed.

LLM in Sports Law course search

Obviously a passion about sports is a must-have, as are brilliant negotiating and networking skills to excel in Sports Law.

What is Sports Law?

Sports law covers a large area of law, encompassing diverse fields such as the regulation of national and international sports by either national bodies, international bodies and some governments, such as in France, who are directly involved in the regulation of sport. It also includes the representation of professional and amateur athletes as they engage with these bodies, but also as they become involved with sponsors and advertisers. Other areas include corporate law and business law for businesses involved in competitive sport such as football clubs, and employment law and immigration law for their players and employees.

Global sports industry

North America is the biggest consumer of spectator sports and represents around 30% of the global market, the next largest markets are Western Europe and Asia-Pacific with the Middle East becoming a market for new growth. Most of the companies involved in the sports industry are quite small businesses, but the largest some of the larger ones include Manchester United, the Dallas Cowboys, and Barcelona Football Club.

The value of the global sports market in the United States – and indeed worldwide – is worth billions of dollars and is seemingly ever increasing, which contribute to its interest. This table illustrates the size of the global sports market in US dollars over the last few years.


Global Sports Market


$324 billion


$340 billion


$358 billion


$376 billion


$395 billion


$421 billion


$440 billion


$471 billion


What does a sports lawyer do?

As a sports lawyer you may act for both individuals and sports corporations. This means you’ll dabble in a variety of legal work areas. You might use your contract law to help manage employment contracts for clubs and athletes and advise athletes on intellectual property rights for managing endorsement deals. You might have to tap on commercial law when managing issues related to personal or sports club property matters, and even advise players on personal matters like wills and taxes. If you’re the type of person who doesn’t want to be stuck in a rut doing the same thing every day and is excited by the prospect that every work day is unique, then this might be a segment of the law you might choose to specialise in.  

A sports lawyer needs to be familiar with the sports regulatory framework in their jurisdiction and needs to know how to advise athletes on issues like medical negligence and sports injury compensation claims. You’ll also need to be well-versed in issues specific to sports such as selection disputes when it comes to creating a team for international sporting competitions and anti-doping. You’ll benefit from a strong foundation in business and commercial law knowledge. While that might seem like a lot to wrap your head around, fortunately, several institutions offer training in sports and entertainment law. There are even some online offerings so you can specialise in this sector via distance learning. If you’re keen to work in this area, a sports law specialisation might just help you get a foot in the door.

What is studied on an LLM in Sports Law?

LLM programs in Sports Law differ and while some LLM courses are in sports law only, other programs also include related areas of law such as entertainment law or media law. Modules can include topics such as Sports Regulatory Regime and Sports Rights, Sport, Broadcasting and New Media, The Sports Participant and the Courts, and Sports and Ethics. Other modules include Doping and the Culture of Sports, Public Sports Arbitration, and Arbitrating Sports. Some students focus on International Sports Law or the legal issues surrounding representing both professional and pre-professional athletes. The drafting and selecting of players by large sports clubs in the US have specific courses at some law schools in the US. Also in the US, foreign-trained lawyers can study both US law and Sports Law together in LLM courses designed specifically for them.

Where can you study an LLM in Sports Law?

There are several options when it comes to studying an LLM in Sports Law. Many law schools in the US that offer LLM programs in Sports Law such as the University of Miami, Pepperdine University, University of Arizona and Marquette University. In the UK the University of London, De Montfort University and Nottingham Trent University all offer LLM programs that have a focus on Sports Law. Melbourne University in Australia has a Sports Law track for its LLM program and the University of Zurich in Switzerland has a International Sports Law specialism for its LLM in International Business Law that is conducted in English.

Entry requirements for an LLM in Sports Law

The entry requirements to study an LLM in Sports Law tend to be a good first (undergraduate) degree and a relevant field, ideally law, plus some work experience. This table shows some of the requirements from for specific courses.

LLM Program


Entry Requirements


LLM in Entertainment, Media & Sports Law

Pepperdine University

Excellent law degree;
1 year work experience

LLM in Entertainment, Arts & Sports Law

University of Miami

Excellent law degree;
previous work experience

LLM in Sports Law for Foreign-Trained Lawyers

Marquette University

Foreign language degree; proof of English proficiency

LLM in Sports Law & Business

Arizona State University

Law degree with 3.00 GPA; proof of English proficiency

LLM in Sports Law

De Montford University

Good undergraduate degree

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