Esports has seen a meteoric rise in popularity, with crowds of up to 35 million watching competitive video games. This has opened the door for companies from various sectors to sponsor teams, tournaments and athletes. Brand sponsorship accounts for 40% of total income in esports – an excellent opportunity for companies across various industries!
Esports competition and tournament organizers must address many legal matters associated with them, such as licensing, copyright/trademark law, rights of publicity and gambling regulation. If you’re hosting an esports tournament or working as a player, team or game developer, an experienced gaming attorney can ensure compliance with local laws and regulations in jurisdictions where you operate.
License Agreements and Media Licensing
The esports industry is highly profitable for players and teams involved. Many of the world’s most successful esports gamers are paid millions of dollars by their teams for participating in tournaments, as well as for endorsement deals or promotional efforts. While these types of deals can help build a reputation for an athlete and develop an audience, it’s essential that legal nuances be understood so as to prevent any future legal issues from arising.
These agreements often contain long-term commitments that may not be profitable as players and teams grow in size. Furthermore, they often contain restrictions on competing products which could rob a sponsorship payment of its value. This can have a significant effect on the team’s profitability as well as an individual player’s capacity to find new sponsors in the future.
Endorsements and Rights of Publicity
Before hosting an esports tournament, one important issue to resolve is whether players participating can waive their rights to their names and likenesses for broadcast purposes. This is essential as it means organizers and broadcasters can utilize celebrity endorsements to promote the event – which could be a huge boost to its reputation with careful planning and negotiation.
PEDs and Rules Compliance
Performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) are a major issue in esports, so tournament organizers need to ensure their players abide by specific regulations regarding these substances. These may include what substances can be ingested, how testing will be done, how non-compliance will be punished, as well as how to appeal any violations.
Advertising and Merchandising
Esports tournaments tend to do their marketing and merchandising online. The internet can be an incredible resource for promoting events, but it also poses legal and financial obstacles for esports organizations, teams, players and fans alike. Having experienced legal counsel handling these matters from the beginning helps prevent problems from arising in the first place and makes your tournament more profitable in the long run.
Finally, hosting an esports tournament requires being able to navigate all of the complex legal matters that come with it. A knowledgeable esports attorney can advise you on effective practices and strategies that will maximize your success.