Esports



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

Presentations

  • “Who will be the Michael Jordan of Esports? Building the Next Generation of Brand Influencers,” Nixon Peabody & XLIVE Reception Series, Los Angeles, CA, March 2018 (Ellie Altshuler)
  • “Women in Esports and the Video Game Industry,” Esports Activate, Sony PlayStation Theater, New York, March 2018 (Irene Scholl-Tatevosyan)
  • “How the Global Evolution of Esports Will Change the Industry,” Hollywood Entertainment Technology Festival (HET Fest), Los Angeles, November 2017 (Irene Scholl-Tatevosyan)
  • “The Future Is Female—How Women Are Playing a Crucial Role in the Growth of E-sports,” XLIVE, New York, August 2017 (Irene Scholl-Tatevosyan)
  • “Joining Forces—The Importance of Players Unions and Governing Bodies for the Future of the Esports Industry,” XLIVE, New York, August 2017 (Alicia Anderson)
  • Nixon Peabody Esports Intensive,” Nixon Peabody, Los Angeles, CA, June 2017 (Irene Scholl-Tatevosyan)

Publications

  • “Demand for Esports-Friendly Venues to Grow,” GlobeSt.com, February 22, 2018 (Rudy Salo and Noah Lebowitz)
  • “Protecting Intellectual Property Rights in the Billion-Dollar World of Virtual Gaming,” TechCrunch.com, January 23, 2018 (Brianna Howard)
  • “Here Are Some Of The Legal Implications Of Virtual Reality In Esports,” Forbes, October 24, 2017 (Brianna Howard)
  • “What’s in a Name? Choosing and Protecting Your Esports Brand,” Medium.com, October 23, 2017 (Colleen Raimond)
  • “To Avoid Copyright Disaster, the Future of Game Streaming is Licensing,” VentureBeat, August 23, 2017 (Brianna Howard, Jessica Walker, Jason Kunze)
  • “Ten Legal Issues to Watch When it Comes to Esports,” Forbes, May 19, 2017 (Irene Scholl-Tatevosyan, Matt Morris, Chris Queenin and Brianna Howard)
  • “Immigration in Esports: Do Gamers Count as Athletes?” Forbes, May 18, 2017 (Courtney New)

Top 40 under 40

Los Angeles Daily Journal | June 25, 2018

Los Angeles corporate partner Ellie Altshuler was named as one of the top 40 attorneys in California under the age of 40 by the Los Angeles Daily Journal.

Protecting Intellectual Property Rights in the Billion-Dollar World of Virtual Gaming

TechCrunch.com | 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

Medium.com | 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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