With deep cross-industry experience, our team helps major players in the booming esports industry navigate potential legal issues, stay ahead of the competition and reach next-level success.

Our approach

Competitive video gaming as a spectator sport continues to grow in popularity, rapidly transforming esports from a niche market to mainstream industry.

Esports are projected to attract hundreds of millions of viewers and generate revenues exceeding $1 billion in the next few years. From major city developers building esports arenas or using traditional spaces to accommodate esports events, to players needing proper visas to compete in international tournaments, to major corporations looking for endorsement, merchandising and branding deals, a variety of investors and other interested parties want to seize the opportunity to get involved with this global industry as it ramps up in the U.S.

With the esports landscape touching so many different markets, clients need legal counsel with deep experience across the board.

Nixon Peabody’s forward-thinking team of cross-practice attorneys truly understands all facets of this exciting industry and can confidently guide esports clients through a variety of potential legal issues. We leverage our collective experience in public finance, labor and employment, trademark, intellectual property, commercial litigation, M&A, real estate, gaming, entertainment and more to look at the big picture, stay ahead of trends, navigate challenges and proactively identify opportunities as the esports industry grows.

Our firm’s size, ability to cross-serve and established connections with esports industry leaders helps our clients achieve their goals.

We can help with:

  • Investments, including creating, backing, acquiring or selling a team
  • Governance and regulatory frameworks for competitions
  • Labor and union issues, including representation before the NLRB
  • Influencer/player endorsement and appearance contracts
  • Immigration visas
  • Online streaming platform agreements
  • Compliance with FTC endorsement guidelines
  • Gambling regulations compliance
  • Employment and services agreements
  • IP licensing, copyrights, trademarks and patents
  • Merchandise manufacturing and agreements
  • Public financing and zoning compliance for esports facilities

Protecting Intellectual Property Rights in the Billion-Dollar World of Virtual Gaming | January 23, 2018

Los Angeles commercial litigation associate Brianna Howard weighs in on new patent questions arising at the intersection of virtual reality and esports—two rapidly growing industries.

Click here for the TechCrunch virtual gaming article.

Here are some of the legal implications of virtual reality in esports

Forbes | October 24, 2017

Los Angles commercial litigation associate Brianna Howard is featured in this Q&A about the legal implications of incorporating virtual reality and other new technologies into the esports industry, specifically intellectual property rights.

What’s in a name? Choosing and protecting your esports brand | October 23, 2017

Rochester IP counseling and transactions associate Colleen Raimond authored this article about how esports players and teams can create and protect their brands.

To avoid copyright disaster, the future of game streaming is licensing

VentureBeat | August 23, 2017

Los Angeles commercial litigation associates Brianna Howard and Jessica Walker and Chicago IP litigation associate Jason Kunze contributed this article on how licensing agreements can protect online streaming platforms from copyright infringement in the gaming industry.

Ten legal issues to watch when it comes to eSports

Forbes | May 19, 2017

Associates Irene Scholl-Tatevosyan, Matt Morris, Chris Queenin and Brianna Howard co-authored this article about legal issues the booming eSports industry should consider.

Immigration in esports: Do gamers count as athletes?

Forbes | May 18, 2017

Boston labor and employment counsel Courtney New contributed this article about how the U.S. immigration system’s lack of a definition for “athlete” in the P-1 visa category presents challenges for the booming esports industry.

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