Sports law

Buddle Findlay provides commercial and solution-focused advice across a range of event and sports law issues.


We are uniquely placed in the New Zealand market to meet clients' needs.  We are the legal adviser to Sport New Zealand and previously advised the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 on all matters relating to the organisation and delivery in New Zealand of the 2015 Cricket World Cup. 

Our approach is to build sound relationships and become trusted advisers, which is what we achieved over the course of four years advising Rugby New Zealand 2011 (RNZ 2011) in connection with the 2011 Rugby World Cup.  The 2011 Rugby World Cup was one of the top three sporting events in the world - and the largest sporting event ever held in New Zealand. We were privileged to have played a part in its success.

We have the expertise and capacity to provide commercial and solutions-focused advice across a range of events and sports law issues, including:

  • Major events contracts

  • Constitutional and governance advice for all forms of sporting organisations, including independent reviews

  • Government funding of sports and funding agreements

  • Restructuring and mergers of organisations

  • Media/broadcasting/commercial rights/sponsorship

  • Disciplinary/drug/judiciary/dispute resolution

  • Codes of practice, rules and other protocols

  • Assets/research and development

  • Construction

  • Intellectual property

  • Athletes/management/contracts

  • Employment

  • Membership rights and obligations.

Our team advises a range of clients including RNZ 2011, ATEED, Cricket World Cup 2015, Sport New Zealand, SKY Television (SKY), Swimming New Zealand, Yachting New Zealand, Snow Sports New Zealand, New Zealand Outdoor Instructors Association, Badminton New Zealand and Tasman Regional Sports Trust.

Work highlights

Advising ATEED (in a peer review capacity)

regarding the V8 supercar arrangements

Acting for the organising committee of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 (jointly hosted by Australia and New Zealand)

on various legal matters in relation to the New Zealand based aspects of the tournament

Assisting RNZ 2011

with the drafting and negotiating of over 30 agreements with venues and local authorities throughout New Zealand for the hosting of matches and teams for RNZ 2011, and assisting RNZ 2011 on the relocation of matches and teams and associated variations as a result of the Christchurch earthquakes

Acting for Sky Television

in relation to the acquisition of sports rights and the production of sports coverage, including the acquisition of New Zealand media rights for RWC 2011, London Olympics, NRL, SANZAR rugby, Premier League, V8s, Trans-Tasman Netball, NZ Cricket and ICC cricket, and host broadcaster production issues related to most major sports events in New Zealand

Providing a legal helpline service and advice to the sector in association with Sport New Zealand to National Sports Organisations and Regional Sports Trusts nationally

This includes advice on a wide range of issues faced by sporting organisations, such as governance, intellectual property, event management, player discipline/participation, health and safety contractual and employment advice, and brand protection

Assisting RNZ 2011

with the drafting and negotiating of agreements for transport (coach and air), vehicle rental, catering, advertising, IT services, the street banner programme, freight services, accreditation centre sites and match-day services for RNZ 2011

Our team

Hamish Kynaston

Partner, Wellington

Hamish specialises in employment relations, litigation, health law, health and safety, and education…

  • DDI +64 4 462 0439
  • M +64 21 279 2147


John Buchan

Partner, Christchurch

John specialises in corporate and commercial law and in particular, commercial property. He acts on a wide range of transactions…

  • DDI +64 3 371 3504
  • M +64 21 900 124


Philip Wood

Partner, Auckland

Philip specialises in providing commercial, IT, telecommunication, media and television/film sector advice including strategic advice…

  • DDI +64 9 357 9385
  • M +64 21 624 356