While playing video games may start at home, it has exploded into a competitive spectator sport either through streaming services or live events with leagues, championships, endorsements and the possibility of lucrative professional careers, collectively referred to as esports. From an initial video game concept through development, distribution, marketing and sales to a ballooning fan base engaged in esports tournaments and championships, the lifecycle of a video game is vast.
Attorneys at Saul Ewing advise video game designers and distributors, colleges and universities with esports programs, and esports investors on the full spectrum of video gaming across a variety of legal matters, including in the following areas:
- General corporate – commercial agreements, governance, partnerships and new ventures, including esports franchise development
- Financing – debt and equity capital-raising transactions; and esports arena financing
- Mergers, acquisitions, dispositions, joint ventures and strategic alliances
- Investments – fund formation and investment opportunities for private equity funds, venture capital funds, wealth funds, strategic investors and family offices
- Esports sponsorships – event contracts and broadcast agreements
- Tax – domestic and international tax planning and Internal Revenue Service inquiries and disputes
Real Estate, including the purchase and sale of land, financing, development, land use rights, zoning, leasing, and appeals
Construction, including the development of arenas and stadiums and surrounding entertainment centers
Intellectual property, including matters related to copyrights, patents, trademarks, licensing and merchandising
Collegiate esports programs, including establishing esports teams and programs, assisting in negotiations with esports leagues and tournament hosts, reviewing league participation agreements, and advising on issues of compliance and policy
Labor and employment, including employment agreements, employee handbook/policy requirements, athlete handbooks, and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) matters
Litigation or arbitration, including breach of contract disputes, class actions, and esports league inquiries and disputes
Supply chain logistics
Employee benefits and executive compensation
Cybersecurity and data privacy
For a selection of our video gaming and esports representations, click here.
- A private esports investment fund in advising on entity formation, trademark and branding, and privacy matters in connection with the formation of a Rocket League esports team.
- A mobile interactive entertainment company in helping to create and maintain a large U.S. patent portfolio covering video games that helped make the client a highly lucrative acquisition target.
- A mobile interactive entertainment company in protecting all intellectual property aspects of its video games, including handling the patent prosecution process for its game developments, copyright-protecting its software code, and providing ongoing strategic intellectual property advice.
- A private investment fund in providing advice and counsel in connection with esports investments.
- A Louisiana university in connection with the development of a varsity esports programs, including reviewing and negotiating esports league participation agreements.
- A university in reviewing and negotiating esports league participation agreements as part of its development of a varsity esports program.
- A Louisiana university in reviewing and providing advice regarding intellectual property issues in agreements relating to the formation of and participation in esports leagues.
- A real estate development and entertainment operating company in providing comprehensive real estate transaction support and advising on land use matters for the $50 million construction project of a dedicated esports arena in Philadelphia.
- A video game developer and publisher in defending against patent litigation in which the patents at issue related to software for performing lip synchronization for video game characters.