We have been gaming since Half-Life and Counter-Strike took over the scene in the early 2000s (yes, we’re old). We have watched with excitement and pride as the esports industry has taken off and caught the attention of the world community. Now, we want to use our knowledge and expertise to help your esports business thrive.
We love to help our clients succeed. In addition to being esports lawyers, we are leaders in the areas of law that are most critical to esports organizations. Vorys lawyers love to put on our thinking caps to provide thoughtful and clear advice. We can’t wait to use our skills to help you grow and improve your business.
We practice law and do business with the highest level of ethical integrity, because it’s the right way to be. If you are an organization with talented and driven employees who want to make a difference in the esports industry, let’s work together!
We work with esports teams and organizations, investors, game developers, endemic and non-endemic sponsors and commercial partners, and colleges and universities in the following areas:
How you set up your esports organization will have a lasting impact on how you do business. We want to understand your legal, tax and business objectives (as well as your personal hopes and dreams) to help you implement the most effective legal and tax structure for your business.
Investors are taking note of esports businesses and pouring millions of dollars into esports teams and other businesses that support the industry. Vorys understands how to navigate the legal aspects of capital raising to help you finance the formation or growth of your esports business.
Exciting new business opportunities and legal issues pop up every day in the esports industry. Vorys has a full-service team of lawyers ready to help you navigate whatever issues come your way. We frequently serve as outside general counsel to companies without legal departments. We are ready and willing to help you understand the business impact and potential risks and benefits of ordinary-course business opportunities and make informed decisions.
You are likely to have endorsement and sponsorship agreements, player contracts, franchising, merchandising, streaming and technology agreements and other commercial agreements coming your way. Your contracts should accomplish your business goals, maximize efficiency, minimize cost, and appropriately address and allocate risk—all on your timeframe and budget. Vorys lawyers specialize in getting contracts done. We negotiate multi-million dollar licensing and sponsorship deals for internationally known brands in transactions involving clothing, footwear, technology, patents, proprietary and open-source software, internet applications and trade secrets. We can help you get the most out of these agreements.
Mergers, acquisitions and other business transactions are becoming commonplace in the esports world, and our team of veteran deal makers provides the leadership necessary to ensure a smooth transaction process. We advise clients in strategic and financial mergers and acquisitions, venture capital and private equity investments, joint ventures and divestitures, as well as spin-offs, leveraged recapitalizations and other transactions. Our deep bench of talented M&A lawyers allows us to provide advice on both large and small transactions for established companies and startups.
Click here for more information on our extensive M&A experience and a list of representative transactions.
Online revenue streams constitute a material source of revenue for many esports organizations, and Vorys can help your organization navigate the complex (and expanding) network of regulations on personal data. Our privacy team has more than 15 years of experience helping clients craft appropriate policies for collecting, storing and sharing sensitive data, conducting privacy audits, conducting customized data-breach workshops and assisting with payment card security standards (such as PCI DSS and PA-DSS). In the unfortunate event of a data breach, we are here to help coach you through the appropriate remedial steps and defend any resulting litigation.
Whether you are a game developer, sponsor, esports team or esports athlete, the integrity of your brand identity and other intellectual property is critical to unlocking and maintaining revenue streams. We will help you develop, protect and police your intellectual property – including copyrights, patents, data domains, designs, and “trade dress” or the “look and feel” of your brand – to help you maximize its value. Vorys can also help you work with other industry participants to ensure you are not violating their intellectual property rights.
The hardware and software tools you use and license are the lifeblood of your esports company. Vorys has extensive experience in IT and e-commerce contracting and we can help you with e-commerce hosting and fulfillment; software, hardware and services acquisition and implementation; ERP licensing, implementation and services and to planning, forecasting and merchandising licensing and implementation.
Marketing and sponsorships are a critical revenue source for esports organizations, and give both endemic and non-endemic sponsors access to key demographics for their products and services. We advise esports organizations and sponsors in structuring and implementing sponsorship deals, marketing campaigns and other promotional activities in compliance with the statutory and regulatory obligations of the FTC, FCC, the Lanham Act, and state law regulations and guidelines that affect advertising, text messaging, email marketing, apps, social networks, and similar consumer protection issues.
Attracting and retaining multi-talented esports athletes, streamers and personalities who can generate buzz and drive revenue is becoming a “must” for esports teams. Vorys’ nationwide employment law practice can help you draft and negotiate player contracts, develop and implement employment policies, and establish employee benefits plans and programs to help you attract the best talent and comply with your legal obligations as an employer.
Game developers, gaming centers and others in the esports and gaming industries are exploring and, in many cases adopting, a franchise business model. The franchise business model is tried and true, but its application to gaming and esports is novel. Vorys’ nationally recognized franchise experts can help you navigate the complexities of franchising law and practice, whether you are considering adopting a franchise model or considering buying in to a franchise business. We are experienced in negotiating franchise relationships, state franchise law compliance, and acquisitions and dispositions of franchise businesses.
Although COVID-19 has brought an abrupt end to live esports events, the online nature of esports has positioned the industry to weather COVID-19 with relatively less impact than many other industries. Vorys lawyers are up to speed on the impacts of COVID-19, including governmental orders and federal relief efforts, and can help you understand how these new laws and orders impact your business.
However you fit into the esports and video gaming industry, we would love the opportunity to connect with you, learn about your goals and objectives, and share our knowledge! We think we could add real value to your esports efforts if you are any of the following:
Please reach out to Frank Zonars via email, phone, discord or video chat for a free consultation, or just to say hello!