A sponsorship contract may contain a force majeure clause (probably quite general). As a general rule, this provides that in the event of “force majeure”, a party may suspend the agreement or treat its own obligations as suspended. Pandemics may or may not be explicitly referred to as a “superior act” in the clause. If not, there are two opposing schools of thought as to whether a pandemic is an unforeseen event or whether it should have been anticipated by the parties in the face of the epidemics of recent years and repeated warnings about its occurrence. A very narrow interpretation usually applies to force majeure clauses – a party who wants to rely on it does not get the benefit of the doubt. This will clearly affect some sponsorship rights, for example.B. Game day tickets, match day hospitality, revenue from stadium shops and stadium advertising (with fewer or no spectators in the stadium). For example, the contract should determine whether a match in a neutral venue would be considered a home match for the purposes of stadium advertising and ticketing, as a neutral venue may not be delivered on a location basis of its own to allow the local team access to its usual advertising space or ticketing rights. However, you may not be able to rely on a force majeure clause if you knew an event would likely occur unless you explicitly covered that event.
While this may not be the case for future pandemics, it would be difficult to argue that parties to sponsorship agreements covering this year, or even next year, would not have considered an event likely cancelled due to COVID-19. 22.2 This Agreement constitutes the entire Agreement between the Parties and supersedes and deletes all prior drafts, agreements, understandings and understandings between them, whether written or oral, with respect to their subject matter. Each party agrees not to rely on this Agreement when entering into this Agreement and has no recourse with respect to warranties or warranties (innocent or negligent) that are not provided for in this Agreement. No party shall be entitled to an innocent or negligent misrepresentation based on any statement in this Agreement or that was made prior to its conclusion. On 7 May 1, 2020, the UK government made recommendations on responsible contract behaviour when affected by the COVID 19 emergency. This is only a guide and, therefore, does not terminate the rights of the parties under contract or customary law. However, the extent of the areas in which the parties expect “responsible and fair conduct in the national interest” in the performance and enforcement of their contracts includes issues such as the invocation of infringements and the opening of proceedings and is a relevant consideration, in addition to the possible applicability of force majeure and our high-level advice on the preparation of sponsorship contracts in the future. It also depends on how the treaty is formulated and how specific rights are granted. In a sponsorship agreement, it may be that many of the sponsorship rights can continue to be appreciated despite Lockdown and its effects, given that the designation as an official sponsor/partner or a logo on a website or the post on social networks can still appear.
Visibility may be lower than usual, but frustration can`t be used to remedy a bad deal, so the fact that a sponsor ultimately paid too much for their rights won`t have any weight here. It will therefore be essential to consider the specific agreement as a whole and to assess precisely whether it really cannot be respected. At this point in the pandemic, the more traditional approach to contracts in sponsorship agreements may not provide the parties with the flexibility to achieve their goals. . . .