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Esports & Gaming

Our Esports & Gaming team comprises multistream specialists, including corporate, media, sports, immigration, intellectual property, employment and technology lawyers, who possess market-leading experience in the legal, commercial and regulatory issues affecting the esports and gaming sector. Our team’s expertise spans key markets in Asia Pacific, the US, Europe and the Middle East, and draws on our lawyers’ wealth of sector-specific client experience.

We anticipate and understand the impact of new commercial practices, regulations and technologies, and our unrivaled experience enables us to help clients develop and shape best practices that apply on a global basis. Our extensive international footprint in strategic locations allows our lawyers to provide not only in-depth advice on key local issues, but also advice that reflects the increasingly global nature of our clients’ businesses. We are equipped to fully support our clients in navigating complex multijurisdictional landscapes, which enables them to consolidate their position in existing territories and advance their interests in frontier markets.

We provide the full spectrum of legal support to publishers, developers, tournament organizers, esports organizations, sponsors, broadcasters, investors and other industry stakeholders in connection with their global operations across the industry, including on:

  • Brand and reputation management
  • Sponsorship and advertising
  • Dispute resolution
  • Exploitation of commercial rights, media rights and broadcasting
  • Exploitation and protection of intellectual property and image rights
  • Governance and regulatory issues
  • M&A/investments and corporate structuring
  • Hosting and staging of events (including the distribution of event-related rights)
  • Development, planning, finance and construction of venues and facilities
  • Player contracts and other issues, including transfers and safeguarding
  • Immigration

Our Esports & Gaming team forms a core part of our Sports & Entertainment Group, which includes a core team with unrivaled sector-specific experience and additional resources across a broad spectrum of legal disciplines. Our lawyers are at the forefront of the development of the sports and entertainment sector across the EMEA, US and Asia Pacific regions.

In addition to being trusted advisers to a diverse range of clients, we are active in pro bono cases and thought leadership, appearing frequently as key contributors at local, regional and international conferences and seminars, in online, print, TV and radio media, and in the design and innovative provision of postgraduate education.

In addition to numerous ad hoc roles on disciplinary, governance and anti-corruption panels, we are especially proud to include within our ranks:

  • Two Court of Arbitration for Sports arbitrators
  • A FIFA Dispute Resolution Chamber member
  • A World Athletics Disciplinary Tribunal member
  • An International Paralympic Committee Anti-Doping Panel member
  • The vice-president of the Saudi Arabian Football Federation
  • The president of the Qatar Sports Arbitration Tribunal
  • The former general counsel of Yas Marina F1 Circuit
  • An International Paralympic Committee Board of Appeal of Classification member
  • A former legal counsel at the (English) Football Association
  • A UEFA Pro-bono counsel member

We pride ourselves on our ability to utilize the vast sector experience in our team and our long-established local connections to best serve the individual needs of our clients, which include esports and gaming organizations, national and international governing bodies, National Olympic Committees, sports rights holders, broadcasters, investors, venue operators, sponsors, event management companies, athletes, agents and clubs. This enables us to provide the most strategic, tailored and innovative commercial legal solutions and strategies to further our clients’ aspirations.

  • Tier 1 esports publisher – Retained in respect of all legal aspects of its Middle East operations, including employment, corporate structuring, local regulations and the hosting of online and offline tournaments in the UAE and Saudi Arabia.
  • Harves Investment Group – Advised on the preparation and negotiation of a license for Azubu’s esports platform in China. Azubu is a global broadcast network, delivering premium live and on-demand esports action, programming, news and analysis for video game vendors.
  • Video game developer – Advised in connection with the formation of a development and publishing company and the subsequent sale of the outstanding equity of that entity to Take Two Interactive.
  • Leading Middle East esports team – Retained in respect of all legal aspects of its Middle East operations, including in respect of M&A, employment and sponsorship.
  • Formula 1 esports team – Drafted and negotiated agreements between a Formula 1 team and its esports team.
  • Major esports tournament organizer – Retained to advise in relation to its holding of online and offline tournaments (both elite and grassroots) in the UAE and Saudi Arabia.
  • World Sailing – Advised on the drafting and negotiation of its eRegatta contract.
  • Premier League Football Club – Assisted with the drafting and negotiation of numerous esports player contracts.
  • Celebrity image and content rights (Chuck Norris) – Advised in connection with licensing of Chuck Norris’ image and content for video games to both domestic and international licensees/game producers.
  • Hong Kong Football Association – Provided legal support in connection with building an e-football team to send to the Asian Games.
  • Esports federation – Retained to help develop an esports federation in Hong Kong.
  • Various gaming industry startups – Assisted in relation to capital raising and investor financings.
  • Various video game developers – Advised in connection with the negotiation and execution of development agreements, publishing agreements, work-for-hire agreements, consulting agreements and licensing agreements for numerous console and/or PC-based games with publishers.
  • Gaming venture – Advised on optimal online gaming virtual currency/asset trading, business structuring, contractual arrangements and PRC regulatory issues.
  • Large Japanese and US video games conglomerate – Retained to advise in connection with its US and Greater China Triangle anti-counterfeiting matters, including on-the-ground enforcement, evidence gathering, US litigation, jurisdictional and bilateral-related matters, including USTR/301 issues, as well as planning and strategic matters.
  • Computing electronics manufacturer – Advised on the acquisition of an online gaming and internet advertising company in Asia Pacific.
  • Licensing and commercial agreements – Reviewing and analyzing potential and pre-existing licensing opportunities; structuring, negotiating and drafting license and technology transfer agreements, as well as video game license, development and publishing agreements; advising on online and e-commerce transactions, including SaaS service models; conducting due diligence; and representing licensees in acquiring new licenses and technology.
  • Japanese social gaming operator – Advised in relation to UK regulatory risks in connection with social gaming.
  • UK-based video game developer – Advised in securing a multimillion-pound investment from private equity firm LDC to help fuel its expansion.
  • Multiplatform entertainment provider – Advised on the protection and licensing of new game formats and their conversion into machine games.
  • Online gaming and betting brand – Retained since 1997 in relation to the development of the company’s gaming brands, including new games, joint venture partnerships, white label arrangements, TV advertising campaigns, sponsorship arrangements and ASA complaints. 

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