December 4, 2022

Volume XII, Number 338


December 02, 2022

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Esports Insights and Trends - Staying current with emerging developments in the booming esports industry . . .

Leveraging its long history and extensive experience in all aspects of the sports arena, the Foley Sports Industry Team is actively immersed in the booming esports industry. Our Esports Insights and Trends will be a recurring post which is designed to deliver to esports industry insiders and watchers up-to-date information on the latest trends and developments in the fast-moving world of esports. To that end, today’s post covers a variety of topics, including the intersection of esports with privacy, traditional sports models, science, gambling, college programs, and investment activity.

The Esports Industry Should Be Aware of the General Data Protection Regulation ...

The effective date for the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is May 25, 2018, at which time noncompliant organizations may face significant fines. The GDPR, which aims to standardize and improve data protection across EU member states, impacts any organization, regardless of location, if it offers goods or services to, or monitors the behavior of, EU citizens, as well as any organization processing and holding the personal data of EU citizens. Fines for noncompliance can range up to four percent of annual global revenue or 20 million euros per violation. Because the costs of non¬compliance are so substantial, esports companies should start now to assess their compliance with this regulation and develop a plan to be GDPR ready by May 25, 2018. Look for an upcoming Intelligence Post for more information on the GDPR and how Foley can assist.

The Trend of Treating Esports Like Traditional Sports Is Growing ...

The Overwatch League (OWL) has begun its preseason play, and its parallels with traditional sports leagues should not be ignored. For a deep dive into a day in the life of a professional OWL player, and for more insight into how OWL teams operate, click here.

The NA LCS, a Los Angeles-based professional league for League of Legends esports in North America, is modeling itself after professional sports leagues. The NA LCS is moving towards a permanent partnership structure, and its participating teams have strong ties to traditional sports. This is another example of how the line between esports and traditional sports is continuing to blur. To read the full article, click here

The NCAA has hired Intersport, a Chicago-based marketing and consulting firm, to assist in its exploration of the collegiate sports landscape. One goal of the NCAA is to learn how existing esports programs are structured, funded, and administered. Currently there is no official governing body for college esports, although there are a few organizations that provide some governance and host collegiate level competitions. For more information on the NCAA’s research into esports, click here. To read what Kurt Melcher, Intersport’s executive director of esports, had to say about the NCAA and its dive into esports, click here. To read what NCAA President Mark Emmert, has to say about esports, click here.

Twenty German esports teams, tournament organizer ESL, and the German Games Industry Association have come together to form Germany’s first esports federation, the eSport-Bund Deutschland (ESBD). The goals of ESBD include promoting esports in Germany, creating and supporting national teams, and fostering discussions to have esports recognized as a sport. To read more on ESBD, click here.

Australia opened its Esports High Performance Centre at the famous Sydney Cricket Ground. The facility will house various esports teams and provide team access to technology and sports science designed to facilitate the development of esports players. To read more about this innovative facility, click here.

Sports Science and Other Technology Heighten the Esports Experience ...

BARWIS Methods (BARWIS) is providing elite-level training technology, nutritional advice, and recovery methods to esports players. This is part of a trend of esports players taking a more serious approach to nutrition and health while increasing their overall level of competitive play. To learn more about BARWIS and how it is helping esports athletes, click here.

Startup vision technology company Vizzario’s software allows esports teams to passively evaluate players’ visual function during interactive games. Like the 40-yard dash times used in traditional sports, esports teams are beginning to use performance metrics such as accuracy and field of view to determine players’ skill levels. For more information on this software, click here.

Skillz has introduced a cross-platform, cross-app chat system that will enable users to communicate on some of the roughly 2,500 Skillz-integrated games. According to its developers, players using the app enter more competitions and generate more revenue. For more on this, click here.

Gambling Is Starting to Intersect With Esports ...

Loot boxes in esports are coming under the scrutiny of gambling commissions. While the United Kingdom has not outright called loot boxes gambling, Belgium has. Also, China requires loot box rates to be published. It remains to be seen if this staple of esports will face greater regulation by gambling commissions around the world as esports becomes ubiquitous. For more information on this, click here.

Unregulated esports gambling in China generates hundreds of millions of dollars. While unregulated gambling in and of itself may be an issue that requires attention, the massive amount of money generated by esports betting in China underscores what a powerful spectator sport esports has become. To learn more about China’s esports betting scene, click here.

Collegiate Esports Is Growing ...

Indiana’s Trine University has plans to add one of the top esports facilities in the country to its campus. The school decided the investment was worth it after noting that Trine’s esports program had not only boosted enrollment, but helped with student retention. To read more about Trine University’s esports program and its new facilities, click here.

Florida Southern College (FSC) announced in November that it will house Florida’s first varsity esports program. The Lakeland school’s program will be only the latest in a wave of varsity esports programs that have been popping up all over the country. To learn more about FSC’s new program and for a schedule of upcoming collegiate esports events, click here.

Money Continues to Pour Into Esports ...

In China, esports has gotten millennials to start paying attention to beer commercials and buy more of China’s oldest beer brand. With the beer market in China on the decline, esports has provided a new avenue to reach potential consumers. For more information on how China’s oldest beer brand is reaching young males through esports, click here. To learn why esports provides excellent marketing opportunities to young males, click here.

Digital entertainment company Modern Times Group (MTG) has launched a $30 million investment fund that will target gaming companies in the U.S. and Europe. MTG, parent company to major esports industry players ESL and DreamHack, is looking to expand its hold on the industry. This is yet another example of investors recognizing the high earning potential of esports-related investments. For more on MTG’s investment fund, click here.

The Golden State Warriors have paid around $13 million through its new affiliate, the Golden Guardians team, for entry into the North America League of Legends Championship Series. This may seem like a lot of money to play in the league, but for owners and investors of traditional sports teams the potential payoff of unlocking new streaming technologies and gaining access to younger, non-traditional fan bases may be worth the investment. For more on the team’s venture into esports, click here.

A second Australian Football League (AFL) club has entered the esports scene. The move comes on the heels of the AFL announcing its interest in entering the esports market and its desire to use its own 53,000-seat capacity Etihad stadium in Melbourne for esports events. For more on this, click here.

Kadmeil E. Perez, Raymond K. Luk Jr., and Kevin R. Schulz contributed to this post. 

© 2022 Foley & Lardner LLPNational Law Review, Volume VII, Number 355

About this Author

Mary K. Braza, Foley Lardner, Sports Industry Team Lawyer, Franchise Acquisition Attorney

Mary K. Braza is a partner and litigation lawyer with Foley & Lardner LLP and a former member of the firm’s management committee. As co-chair of the Sports Industry Team, she advises stakeholders in significant sports franchise acquisitions and valuations; stadium/arena financings, redevelopments and ancillary developments; and issues surrounding league and team operations such as broadcast television and radio deals, regional sports networks, new media, social media, mobile rights, sponsorship agreements, naming rights, concession and merchandising agreements, and...

Jonathan Israel, foley lardner, professional collegiate sports, Olympic attorney, entertainment lawyer, private equity funds law,

Jonathan L. Israel is a partner and litigation attorney with Foley & Lardner LLP. He advises clients on a wide variety of traditional labor and general employment matters, both in the United States and internationally. He practices in diverse industries, including professional, collegiate and Olympic sports, entertainment, media, financial services, hedge and private equity funds, transportation and retail.

Previously, Mr. Israel was assistant general counsel at the National Basketball Association, where he served as in-house counsel to the...