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Screening of events

When it comes to broadcasting a sporting event, understanding whether permission is needed is largely down to what it is that you are showing.

Under the Licensing Act exemptions, no permission or licence is required when showing any form of live television. However, if you were planning to show pre-recorded matches beforehand or during breaks, then this would be licensable and for this, you would either need permission on your premises licence through the means of films, or you would need to apply for a temporary event notice (TEN).

With a lot of the events taking place during the summer period, you might choose to screen the event outdoors. If that is the case, the same rules as above apply, but you will also need to check your premises licence to ensure that you do not have any conditions that would restrict your usage of the outdoor area. If you do have a restriction, then you may require a TEN.

Please remember that you will need to have the correct commercial subscription in place with broadcasters and a valid TV licence to cover the showing of any of these events. Further information on this can be found here: Broadcasting live sport in licensed premises.

Check your licence

If your premises benefits from a premises licence, then prior to hosting an event always check your licence and the conditions to see whether the activities and times cover you for the length of your event. It is important that you also check your non-standard timings as there might be a condition that allows you to extend your licensable hours for international/major sporting events. An example of non-standard timing would be:

‘In the event of the transmission of any recognised international sporting event which falls outside the current permitted hours on the premises, licence to permit licensable activities commencing one hour before the start of the event and ending one hour after the end of the event.’

Please be aware that a recognised international sporting event is defined as a sporting event recognised by an International Sports Federation and would consist of the participation of at least two countries.

You will need to consider applying for a TEN if you are not already covered under your premises licence.


If you are screening events in an outdoor area or outside of your usual operating hours, you may wish to also add a temporary outdoor bar or increase the hours that you sell alcohol. Like above, always check your licence first to understand your operating hours and conditions, as well as your plan to see whether your outside area is licensed (check the plan attached to your licence, if circled in red, then it will be part of the area where licensable activities can take place).

If your licence does not cover the hours that you are wanting to operate or your outside area falls outside of the licensed area, you will need to apply for a TEN.

Temporary event notices

Temporary event notices allow you to apply for a notice for an event that involves activities that would normally have to be licensed under the Licensing Act 2003. The TEN can be used for both licensed and unlicensed premises.

When applying for standard TENs, you need to ensure that you apply at least 10 working days before the event (not including the date of the event or the date of submission). If you are applying for a late TEN, then this needs to be submitted at least 5 working days before the event, but be aware, if you receive an objection to a late TEN there is no appeal process.

It is also worth bearing in mind that there is an allowance limit for TENs, and for 2022/2023 they are as follows:

  • If you have a personal licence to sell alcohol, you can be given up to 50 TENs a year. If not, then you are limited to 5.
  • A single premises can have up to 20 TENs applied for in one year, as long as the total length of the combined events is not more than 26 days.
  • If you’re organising separate but consecutive events, there must be at least a 24-hour gap between them.

Click here for standard and late TENS dates for this year’s major sporting events.

Please note that this information is for general guidance only and should not substitute professional legal advice. If you have specific concerns, we recommend consulting with one of our legal experts.


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