Whatever you want to call it, gone are the days where professional sport is played only in stadiums, on sports grounds and the like, and computer games are played by socially awkward teenagers in their bedroom.
Welcome to the era of electronic sports or, if you’re cool, eSports!
To understand why this phenomenon has taken the world by storm, it’s helpful to understand what eSports is. While the definition can vary from person to person, most people would agree that it refers to playing video games competitively on gaming consoles or computers, with competitions held online or in person
Players compete against one another in popular games, whether they are a part of a league or a team and large tournaments welcome thousands of players and millions of viewers through coverage on video streaming platforms like Twitch (which was purchased by Amazon in 2014 for $970 million), Mixer (owned by Microsoft), Facebook Gaming and YouTube Gaming.
Here’s 7 things you should know about eSports:
- It’s massive, and is gaining momentum faster than you can say ‘Stop sweating on the noobs!’, with events being held across the world (including Australia) on a weekly basis.
- Like ‘traditional’ sports, eSports’ players can attract sponsorship, endorsement and advertising deals (think, Nike, Red Bull, Cloud9 and Samsung, all of which have sponsored players or teams) so the need for properly drafted agreements that set out each party’s right, obligations and expectations is key.
- Merchandise associated with eSports players (like those of traditional sportspeople) is huge. If you want to sell merchandise or commercialise your brand, we recommend obtaining trademark protection for your intellectual property, such as your image, name, a key catchphrase you use, a distinctive element you market yourself by or your logo.
- E-sports players can make lots of money through online ad, streaming and subscription arrangements. Just remember: Whatever the arrangement, read your contract carefully. What might seem like a good deal now because someone is actually paying you to do what you love, may not be in 12 months’ time when you’re locked into an arrangement where you’re doing all the work for 4% of the revenue.
- The industry is still grappling with PEDs in eSports and is working with the World Anti-Doping Agency to introduce anti-doping regulations and testing into its tournaments. Details of banned PEDs can be found on the website of the relevant authority/tournament.
- If you’re thinking of organising/promoting a tournament, remember that you have a duty of care to provide a safe location and event. Also, depending on where you hold the event, you may also need to notify the local Council; obtain a licence/permit and the relevant approvals to hold the event; take out insurance; develop emergency, crowd control and other plans and arrange for medical personnel to attend.
- If organisers/promoters are considering using volunteers to assist at events, the Fair Work Act mandates that employers pay employees a minimum wage.