Mark Lichtenhein on Brexit’s impact on sport

By iSportconnect | July 8, 2016

It’s been over 2 weeks since the ‘Brexit’ vote which has changed the political landscape in the UK and potentially across Europe.

This is not something that is lost on the sports industry with the potential changes to the UK’s relationship within the single market and end of freedom of movement.

Someone who knows all too well how the UK’s relationship with Europe works from a trading stand-point is Mark Lichtenhein.

Lichtenhein currently works as Chairman of the Sports Rights Owners Coalition and is a Non-Executive Director of the Ladies European Tour.

He tells iSportconnect he believes that there are several issues to be resolved ahead of Britain’s departure from the European Union.

He said: “It’s really a little bit too early to say what impact Brexit will have on the sports industry, we have a large spectrum of things that could happen now – especially in terms of our relationship with the single market and that will have an impact.”

Organising events is obviously easier if there is the freedom of movement, in terms of when and where you can hold them.

One of the biggest worries is the influence that the UK will have over the industry in terms of changing policy – the British voice has been effective on things that affect sport. That could have ramifications on the way that sport is sold.


The rest of Europe is a massive market for UK sport and changes to the way we deal with the single market could obviously change that relationship.

While leaving the EU may affect the UK directly it will also affect the way that the UK works with Europe to tackle issues within sport.

A key issue specifically within the broadcasting sector is that of digital piracy, something Lichtenhein was keen to point out.

“Digital piracy is a global phenomenon that we need to pull together to combat. It is not very helpful for sport as a whole if that is lessened. Our wish is that Britain adds to that debate.”

And what of Europe’s view of Britain? Could it affect the way business is conducted in the future?

“A final issue is the overall perception of Britain. It makes it look insular and while some people will say that is not the case, but often the perception becomes the reality. This poses a risk for Britain’s place in the world moving forward.”

“Something like 20% of European broadcasters are based in the UK so that may change if the access to the single market changes.”

Whatever the agreement between the UK and EU in the future, it appears at the moment, uncertainty rules.



MarkLichtenheinMark Lichtenhein was with the PGA European Tour for 16 years and until recently was Head of Television, Digital Media and Technology. He was pivotal in delivering the European Tour’s global television product including the Ryder Cup to all international markets.

He currently works as Chairman of the Sports Rights Owners Coalition and is a Non-Executive Director of the Ladies European Tour.

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