Force Majeure in the Covid Era — What Now?

6 minute read | October.13.2020

The Covid-19 pandemic has significantly impacted all aspects of the global economy, and sports is among the many industries that moved quickly to minimize the disruption. Very early on, members of the sports industry scrambled to analyze their force majeure clauses as customers, vendors, and key partners sought relief from their contractual obligations.

Legal teams responded to inquiries into the contractual issues raised by Covid-19 in two key ways. One was how existing force majeure clauses would likely be interpreted in light of the pandemic. The other was how to revise force majeure clauses to clearly capture pandemic-related events — and more importantly, to set forth what monetary or other obligations would follow a force majeure event. By most accounts, reliance on the clauses has to this point largely mitigated the adverse effects of the forced cancellation of sporting events and failure to perform by related vendors and key partners due to Covid-19. But the shelf life of the force majeure clause as a safety net for further Covid19- related issues may be nearing its end.

Originally published in Sports Litigation Alert; reprinted with permission.