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Esports refers to elite level competitive video gaming, often in the form of professional events (league competitions, tournaments, championships or battle/match) and typically between contracted gamers or sponsored teams. In the past decade, esports’s business model has developed rapidly from one initially based on individual game publishers to the contemporary multi-stakeholder industry that is projected to have revenues of AUD$2 billion in 2022 and a fan base on over a 1 billion in the same year. Esports leagues and franchises are now aligned with leading global sports entities such as the NBA and FIFA and it is being discussed to be included in future Olympic Games. This rapid growth and investment from traditional sports has not always been accompanied by adequate governance structures, integrity frameworks, or legal protections for investors, sponsors or players. Being the first of its kind and delivered by experts in the industry and in sports law, the subject reviews the legal challenges and opportunities ahead for esports as an innovative and important revenue stream of the sports industry domestically and abroad.
This subject provides a critical examination of the development and current scope of esports as an industry and with respect to its current and future governance and legal obligations both domestically and globally as informed by a comparative approach.
Principal topics include:
- An introduction to the esports ecosystem
- Stakeholder overview: publishers; event organisers; league operators; teams and organisations; players; talent and content creators; fans
- Governing control in esports: software IP and license agreements
- Esports mega events
- Esports business models
- Legal issues and risk mitigation approaches
- Regulating the esports scene; gambling and integrity; player rights and unionisation; diversity and inclusion; pathways into pro gaming
- Emerging issues.
Intended learning outcomes
A student who has successfully completed this subject will:
- Have an advanced and integrated understanding of the historical evolution of esports as an industry and including the fundamental legal structures, principles and obligations of that industry
- Be able to critically examine, analyse, interpret and assess the effectiveness of the legal rules currently surrounding esports
- Be an engaged participant in debates regarding emerging and contemporary legal and governance issues as they relate to eSports generally and stakeholders specifically and including gambling and integrity; player rights and unionisation; diversity and inclusion; pathways into pro gaming
- Have an advanced understanding of situations in which issues relating to legal and governance obligations may arise in work relationships and management practices within esports currently
- Gain a detailed understanding of legal, governance, and integrity issues in esports in the contexts of Australia, the Oceanic region, and internationally
- Develop the cognitive and technical skills to generate critical and creative ideas relating to the future evolution of esports, and to critically evaluate existing legal, governance, and integrity approaches, principles and concepts with creativity and autonomy
- Have the communication skills to clearly articulate and convey complex information regarding esports to relevant specialist and traditional/non-specialist audiences
- Be able to demonstrate autonomy, expert judgment and responsibility as a practitioner or administrator and learner in the field esports and the law.
Last updated: 31 January 2024