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Takaze’s Take: The Rise of American Esports—and the Fall of the NCAA

In this article, Takaze discusses the NCAA’s legal challenges. The future of Division I sports, and the future of American esports.

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The Rise of American Esports—and the Fall of the NCAA

The University of Arizona recently announced that its esports program has been de-funded.[1] The esports program “can no longer continue without the additional funding and has lost its varsity status.”[2] There are three categories of collegiate esports programs: Varsity, Non-Varsity, and Club.[3] Varsity esports programs are led by directors, and their success is “based on recruitment and competitive placement.”[4]

“40% of esports programs live under the athletics department.”[5]

Non-Varsity esports programs are led by directors, and their success is “based on recruitment and on-campus student engagement.”[6] “60% of esports programs are housed outside of athletics.”[7] Esports Clubs are led by students, and their success is “based on community development and student leadership.”[8]

Esports are not the only programs struggling.[9] In fact, athletic “departments around the country are struggling to generate revenues capable of offsetting runaway expenses. Inflation, NCAA deregulation, and COVID-related loan obligations have all driven up the cost of operation in recent years.”[10]

‘The cost to colleges and universities in student-athlete recruitment and acquisition is higher than it’s ever been. Then you add deregulation, more liberal transfer guidelines and chaos in NIL, it makes these commitments more like a series of one-year contracts.’[11] ‘Then you face the cost to retain student-athletes including developing deep NIL resources, and making massive experience investments which is another challenge entirely.’[12] “College sports insiders estimate that ~75% of Division I athletic departments now rely on some form of institutional support, with some receiving tens of millions in subsidies annually.”[13]

Takaze’s Take

The NCAA is experiencing death by a thousand cuts. We ought to be cheering. Once the Death Star is destroyed, the New Republic can usher in a just regime. We prefer to cover up or deny our institutions’ transgressions in America. If America does take action to correct wrongdoing, it is half-measures.[14] The term “student-athlete” is derogatory. The NCAA has used this term to justify their misconduct.[15]

Supporters of the term student-athlete should be considered bigots. The athletes in the top tier of Division I collegiate athletics are professionals. Denying these are professional leagues because of the athlete’s age is asinine. In America, age doesn’t determine whether an athlete is a professional. The United States has no issue sending young women to compete in the Olympics.[16] Anyone opposed to Division I athletes earning salaries that accurately reflect the value of their abilities must self-reflect. What emotions are you feeling?

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Old Men Yelling at Clouds

Nick Saban’s comments about NIL have garnered a lot of attention. Recently, he said it’s “fantastic that players get to make money now. But every single coach, in every single revenue sport, if you’re paying attention, is saying the same thing. This is the only thing that any recruit is asking about now when they come on visits. And I don’t believe it’s pearl-clutching to wonder if maybe that’s not ideal.

Maybe something about the school and your development there as a human being oughta comment on your process there and your line of thinking because overwhelmingly those athletes are going to have to find a job that isn’t football when they leave.”[17] Given that these athletes are being asked to play professional sports without receiving a salary, no coach should be surprised that athletes want to maximize the area they can profit from. The universities should not be the only party that profits.[18]

 Saban isn’t the only noteworthy individual upset about these professional athletes demanding fair wages. Senator Tommy Tuberville is outraged as well. Senator Tuberville said, “the last time I looked, they’re not employees. These students are student-athletes… Coaches right now have a little bit of control of the football team or the basketball team or gymnastics… Problem is [if] unions get involved, they will go on strike before a championship game. They will hold hostage the people that are paying the bills.”[19]

Senator Tuberville’s comments are absurd. Senator Tuberville’s words are belittling and condescending. However, his position is understandable. Right now, everybody in the equation wins except for the athlete.[20] Treating these professional athletes fairly is terrible for business. The NCAA and the Universities are in complete control. If these professional athletes don’t toe the line, the NCAA and/or the University can crush them.[21] It’s a sweet deal for the NCAA and the Universities. Senator Tuberville is right; these professional athletes are “going to kill the goose that laid the golden egg.”[22]

Stay In Your Lane

A University cannot manage a professional sports team. There has been significant discussion of Title IX’s impact on NIL and athlete pay. “Title IX prohibits sex discrimination at educational institutions that receive federal money. It plays an instrumental role in college sports. Among other effects, Title IX requires that athletic departments provide equitable treatment to men and women athletes.”[23]

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The expectation is colleges “that pay football and/or men’s basketball players but not other athletes [will] undoubtedly face Title IX litigation. They might also face claims under the Equal Pay Act and Title IX of the Civil Rights Act, laws that prohibit sex discrimination in compensation and employment.”[24] The NCAA is scrambling to find ways to compensate women’s basketball programs.[25] The NCAA needed five years to name a partner for the NIL Registry.[26] Why should we ask these young women to wait for whatever half-baked plan the NCAA unveils?[27] The NCAA is not taking action to right a wrong. The NCAA recognizes that their chickens have come home to roost.

Thanos Warned Us

Pay-for-play is inevitable. Scholarships are no longer the be-all and end-all. “At many programs, players are receiving NIL as a way of going above the NCAA scholarship limit of 85 per team. It’s a way to have a deeper roster and keep veteran players around.”[28] The performance of these professional athletes is worth more than what the university bills for a semester’s or an entire school year’s tuition. A scholarship’s actual value is that of a deal sweetener. The time when a scholarship could be used as a weapon against these professional athletes has passed.[29]

 The NCAA should seek an honorable death. The jig is up. The players are seeking “monetary damages for being denied three things: a share of broadcasting revenue… the opportunity for revenue that would have been possible in college sports video games and NIL opportunities prior to 2021. They also want NCAA rules changed to allow the Power Five to negotiate with players going forward for their appearance in televised game broadcasts and the removal of NIL restrictions related to direct school and conference payments.”[30]

The NCAA is understandably afraid. “The fundamental risk for the NCAA in permitting colleges to make direct NIL payments is the moment one of those payments is exposed as compensation to attend, or not later transfer from, a school. Such a payment wouldn’t be NIL, but instead pay-for-play-a payment the NCAA has long insisted is an anathema to the student-athlete model and a threat to amateurism.”[31] The NCAA’s value was in its ability to restrict profit sharing.

 University Athletic Directors (ADs) appear prepared to sacrifice the NCAA to save themselves. Some ADs believe that the “system is broken, and I don’t know how much more we can break it… This is forcing a traditional model to look outside itself, and that’s a good thing.”[32] Apparently, the NCAA is the only party that cannot see the writing on the wall. Some ADs claim this has “been on our radar for quite a while now…

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While the terms haven’t been resolved, or if they will be resolved if this doesn’t go to trial, you think about the changing model of college athletics all the time… [College athletics] is going to look different in three years than it does today, but I don’t think any of us have a clear vision of exactly what that is, other than knowing that times are changing.

A lot of colleagues can complain about that, but at the same time, it’s exciting too. It’s an opportunity to be part of the new world of college athletics when it arrives.”[33] The NCAA is outmanned and outgunned.[34] Professional athletes are asserting their rights. Universities have abandoned the NCAA. Now, Uncle Sam has added himself to the NCAA’s dance card.[35] The Federal Trade Commission has forbidden the use of noncompete clauses.[36] The IRS is targeting NIL collectives.[37] The NCAA has mistaken NIL as its safety net. NIL is the harbinger of death.

Ready to Form Voltron?

Conflict is essential to bring about change.[38] The public execution of the NCAA is good for the sports world. Charlotte and Stephen Jones of the Dallas Cowboys recently reminded us that asserting your rights is good for business.[39] How much longer will the Power 4 Conferences exist? The Pac-12 was hunted until it became an endangered species.[40] The ACC is on the verge of imploding.[41] The B1G and the SEC are not devoted to the College Football Playoff (CFP).[42] So, who has next?

 In the football world. The College and professional games have increasing commonalities. On the field, Helmut communication and the 2-minute warning have arrived.[43] Regarding business transactions, players have essentially been granted free agency.[44] Furthermore, NIL opportunities allow players to delay declaring for the NFL draft.[45] Some believe the Power 4 conferences must break up with the NCAA.[46] The College football “Super League” is generating considerable attention.[47]

There would be eight divisions, and the “seven permanent 10-team “Super League” divisions consist of every Power Five school plus Notre Dame, and are organized geographically: west, southwest, plains, Midwest, northeast, south and southeast. In large part, the effort appears to preserve or reunite historic rivalries, a number of which have been shattered by conference realignment.”[48] Is an eighty-team “Super League” the same show with a different title? Will a committee determine which teams earn postseason berths instead of wins, losses, and tiebreakers? Hopefully, the goal was to suggest something silly to ensure consumers pay attention to detail.

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 Some believe that

“a distinct separation of NCAA Division I college football by a minimum overall program/athletic budget needs to happen. In other words, it is not the have and have-nots. It is the have and never-will-be’s, and nothing will really change that simply because of financial efficacy. It does not make financial or competitive sense for many schools… to play in a sandbox where they cannot compete.”[49]

Let this be the moment when Americans stop embracing half-measures. The top tier of Division I sports are professional leagues. At best, seven to ten football teams can win a title in Division I. Perhaps there will be more parity after the league is reborn. Take the top 30-32 teams and establish a formal professional league. Division I professional sports are the only major American sports leagues with over 40 teams.

Implementing a system of promotion and relegation will create suspense and generate excitement. Embracing a system of promotion and relegation forces programs to prove they belong in the top tier and silences critics.[50] Determining who belongs in the sandbox is best done on the field, not in meeting rooms. Players can unionize once a formal professional league is created, and collective bargaining can begin. The NFLPA, NBPA, and WNBPA can assist or house the newly formed unions. Finding owners for these new teams will not be difficult.[51]

 The universities will get their piece of the pie. Stadiums and arenas can be leased.[52] The narrative surrounding public funding for stadiums and arenas is changing. “The battle for public funding is highly competitive and the tendency historically has been for municipalities to allocate those dollars to “more visible” stadia… Tier two and three properties, and minor league organizations, particularly those in secondary markets, have gotten overlooked. But that mentality is starting to change.

Broad demand for live entertainment nationwide, and an influx of smart money into these teams… has brought on a newfound willingness amongst elected officials to allocate public dollars.”[53] Elected officials’ support for funding stadium projects is not intrinsically evil. “Taxpayer support of sports isn’t inherently bad: Fair and thoughtful deals between cities and teams can result in situations where the public sees a return on their investment.”[54] The universities’ logos and jerseys can be licensed.[55] Let’s do this right—no need to cut corners.

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Trust The Silver Surfer

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver can be trusted with the fate of the basketball world. Silver’s handling of NBA business issues has been masterful.[56] For those wondering what March Madness would be like without the NCAA, some believe there would be little change. “The players would still play for their teams, fans would still watch, and non-fans would fill out brackets for their office pools. The difference would be found off the court. Players would be paid for their labor and the use of their name, image, and likeness on broadcasts, merchandise, and apparel…

TV networks, sneaker companies, and other businesses that profit from the tournaments would have to share in the money, just like they share with the NBA and WNBA players through group licensing.”[57] Silver is undoubtedly lined up, waiting for the swell. The author believes the top 30-32 Division I basketball teams should establish a formal professional league. Moreover, the author insists implementing a system of promotion and relegation will create suspense and generate excitement.

Betting companies will argue that Cinderella and a large postseason tournament are essential. However, the NBA isn’t a stranger to this space.[58] The NBA is considering expanding into Europe.[59] Hopefully, the entire universe acknowledges that basketball’s future is brightest under the Surfer’s stewardship.

Are The Stars Aligning?

The streaming wars are being waged in the sports world.[60] The framework for sports media rights deals is evolving; this is the perfect time for a revolution. “The NBA is ‘seeking a new decade-long – or longer’ – media rights contracts that will ‘alter how it traditionally delivers games, with streaming becoming the principal distribution method.’”[61] The NBA has the framework for a deal with Prime Video.[62]

The NBA’s commitment to streaming is forcing companies to adapt-or-die.[63] The NBA is head-and-shoulders above the other major American sports leagues in terms of progressive thinking and business savvy.[64] “Remember, the beauty of streaming is that the platforms have the capability to capture more about who is engaging with the content, and how they’re doing it.”[65] The sports world is metamorphosizing; lean in.

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A Phoenix Rising From The Ashes

“Esports is growing across the Globe. Mature markets like North America and Western Europe are continuing to grow. However, over the last year, audience numbers were most affected by growth markets in the Middle East, Africa, Asia-Pacific, and Latin America.”[66] Despite the NCAA’s distasteful business practices, esports have succeeded in North America. “Schools are mostly trying to make revenue through esports by increasing enrollment. If your cost of attendance is USD 35,000 or USD 40,000 per student, and you only have to invest maybe USD 5,000 or USD 10,000 per student for the esports program, then that could be a revenue generator.”[67]

The demise of the NCAA is the salvation the esports world has been praying for. The NBA is active in this space.[68] The Surfer is ready to strike. The NBA’s ability to take over the space will bring suitors to compete with the Saudis. [69] Once the NFL catches up to the NBA, esports will have the momentum it needs to become an Olympic sport.[70] Madden tournaments are 1 v. 1.[71]

The author is unsure if 11 v. 11 matches are feasible; nevertheless, 7 v. 7 matches are. Ideally, the NFL will recognize the value of establishing a league like the NBA’s 2k League. Investing in Madden and Flag Football will assist the NFL in achieving its international ambitions. We have to do this, and we should want to—let the NCAA burn.


[1] Emma LaPointe, University of Arizona Cuts Funding to Esports Program, THE DAILY WILDCAT (Apr. 1, 2024), https://wildcat.arizona.edu/154624/news/university-of-arizona-cuts-funding-to-esports-program/.

[2] Id.

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[3] Chris Postell & Kris Narayan, Trends in Collegiate Esports Report Lite, 10 (4th ed. 2024).

[4] Id.

[5] Id.

[6] Id.

[7] Id.

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[8] Id.

[9] JohnWallStreet, College Sports’ Rising Costs Becoming Institutional Level Problem, JohnWallStreet (Jan. 23, 2024), https://blog.johnwallstreet.com/p/college-sports-rising-costs-becoming-institutional-level-problem.

[10] Id.

[11] Id.

[12] Id.

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[13] Id.

[14] See Jack N. Rakove, Original Meanings (1997); Angela Y. Davis, Freedom Is A Constant Struggle (2016); Mary L. Dudziak, Cold War Civil Rights (2011); Risa L. Goluboff, The Lost Promise of Civil Rights (2007).

[15] See Josh Eidelson, NCAA Abuses ‘Student-Athlete’ Term to Deny Rights, NLRB Alleges, Bloomberg Law (Dec. 18, 2023, 4:47 PM), https://news.bloomberglaw.com/daily-labor-report/ncaa-abuses-student-athlete-term-to-deny-rights-nlrb-alleges.

[16] Nick Zaccardi, Olympic Women’s Gymnastics Median Age in 20s for First Time in Decades, NBC Sports (July 14, 2021, 4:42 AM), https://www.nbcsports.com/olympics/news/olympic-gymnastics-average-age; See Louise Radnofsky, U.S. to Pay Victims of Larry Nassar $100 Million Over FBI Failures, The Wall Street Journal (Apr. 17, 2024, 12:15 PM),  https://www.wsj.com/sports/olympics/larry-nassar-fbi-failures-18067a65?st=3hjy9s61m3wicmt; See also Juliet Macur, U.S. Rowing Rescinds Ted Nash’s Honors After Abuse Investigation, The New York Times (Apr. 30, 2024, 6:20 PM),  https://www.nytimes.com/2024/04/30/us/ted-nash-jennifer-fox-abuse-investigation.html?smid=nytcore-ios-share&referringSource=articleShare&sgrp=c-cb.

[17] Seth Emerson, What Nick Saban is Wrong, and Right, About in NIL Debate, The Athletic (Mar. 13, 2024), https://theathletic.com/5339689/2024/03/13/nick-saban-nil-college-sports-congress/.

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[18] Cork Gaines, The 23 Universities That Make At Least $125 Million Annually From Their Sports Teams, Business Insider (Jan. 25, 2024, 4:56 AM), https://www.businessinsider.com/college-sports-revenue-ncaa-ohio-state-buckeyes-texas-football-2024-1; See also NCAA Finances: Revenue and Expenses by School, USA Today (Mar. 14, 2024, 10:05 AM), https://sports.usatoday.com/ncaa/finances.

[19] Daniel Libit, Tuberville Says Dartmouth Union Will Kill NCAA ‘Golden Goose’, Sportico (Mar. 6, 2024, 6:00 PM), https://www.sportico.com/leagues/college-sports/2024/tuberville-dartmouth-union-vote-1234769673/.

[20] See Eben Novy-Williams & Brendan Coffey, Auburn’s Under Armour Stock Deal Fell By $8.6M. Now It’s a Nike School, Sportico (Apr. 9, 2024, 2:00 PM), https://www.sportico.com/business/commerce/2024/auburn-nike-under-armour-equity-1234774545/; Timothy Rapp, Colorado Sees Record-Breaking Application Numbers After Deion Sanders’ 1st Year as HC, Bleacher Report (Mar. 9, 2024), https://bleacherreport.com/articles/10112333-colorado-sees-record-breaking-application-numbers-after-deion-sanders-1st-year-as-hc#.

[21] Michael McCann, Threat to Strip LSU Athletic Scholarships Raises Legal Questions, Sportico (Apr. 3, 2024, 10:10 AM), https://www.sportico.com/law/analysis/2024/louisiana-governor-threatens-athletic-scholarships-anthem-skip-legal-questions-1234773631/.

[22] See supra note 19; See also Labor Cases at Dartmouth, USC Start of Larger Dispute Over Athletes’ Employment Status, Sports Business Journal (Mar. 19, 2024), https://www.sportsbusinessjournal.com/Articles/2024/03/19/college-labor-cases?hl=labor+cases+at+Dartmouth&sc=0&publicationSource=search; David Cobb, Reggie Bush’s 2005 Heisman Trophy Reinstated as Former USC Trojans Star Wins Long Battle, CBS Sports (Apr. 24, 2024, 11:17 AM), https://www.cbssports.com/college-football/news/reggie-bushs-2005-heisman-trophy-reinstated-as-former-usc-trojans-star-wins-long-battle/.

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[23] Michael McCann, Biden’s Title IX Rule Lands as NCAA Athletes Gain NIL, Employee Rights, Sportico (Apr. 22, 2024, 5:55 AM), https://www.sportico.com/law/analysis/2024/biden-title-ix-regulations-nil-employee-1234776305/.

[24] Id. See Daniel Libit, Oregon Denies ‘Any Control’ Over Nil Collective In Title IX Defense, Sportico (Mar. 5, 2024, 9:00 AM), https://www.sportico.com/leagues/college-sports/2024/oregon-title-ix-defense-division-street-nil-phil-knight-1234769273/; See also Daniel Libit, Oregon, Division Street Play for Kicks Amid Title IX Nil Litigation, Sportico (Mar. 29, 2024, 8:00 AM), https://www.sportico.com/leagues/college-sports/2024/oregon-division-street-shoe-partnership-title-ix-nil-litigation-1234772918/.

[25] Andrea Adelson, NCAA Mulls Ways for Women’s Basketball Teams to ‘benefit financially’, ESPN (Apr. 7, 2024, 4:34 PM), https://www.espn.com/womens-college-basketball/story/_/id/39895247/ncaa-mulls-ways-women-teams-benefit-financially.

[26] Daniel Libit & Eben Novy-Williams, NCAA Names NIL Registry Partner After Five-Year Process, Sportico (Apr. 25, 2024, 3:53 PM), https://www.sportico.com/leagues/college-sports/2024/ncaa-nil-registry-administrator-teamworks-1234776842/.

[27] See Biden: ‘Even if You’re the Best, Women Are Not Paid Their Fair Share’ in Sports, Sports Business Journal (Apr. 17, 2024), https://www.sportico.com/leagues/college-sports/2024/ncaa-nil-registry-administrator-teamworks-1234776842/; Lindsay Crouse, Even Clarkenomics Can’t Solve Sexism in Sports, The New York Times (Apr. 18, 2024, 1:38 PM), https://www.nytimes.com/live/2024/04/16/opinion/thepoint?searchResultPosition=1#caitlin-clark-salary; Jacob Feldman, After Caitlin Clark, Women’s Sports Fans Are Done Compromising, Sportico (Apr. 16, 2024, 5:55 AM), https://www.nytimes.com/live/2024/04/16/opinion/thepoint?searchResultPosition=1#caitlin-clark-salary.

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[28] Austin Meek, Seth Emerson, & Mitch Sherman, In College Football’s NIL and Transfer Portal Era, Does the 85-Scholarship Limit Matter?, The Athletic (Apr. 18, 2024), https://theathletic.com/5424013/2024/04/18/college-football-scholarship-limit-nil-portal/.

[29] See supra note 21.

[30] Michael McCann & Daniel Libit, Athletes’ Motion in NIL Case Pits Baker’s Words Against NCAA, Sportico (Apr. 4, 2024, 12:42 PM), https://www.sportico.com/law/analysis/2024/ncaa-nil-class-action-summary-judgment-1234773887/.

[31] Michael McCann, Direct NIL Payments Could Be Final Nail in Amateurism’s Coffin, Sportico (Apr. 8, 2024, 5:55 AM), https://www.sportico.com/law/analysis/2024/direct-nil-payments-colleges-ncaa-1234774185/.

[32] Ben Portnoy, College Admins Gear Up For Potentially New Budget Lines As House Case Potentially Nears Settlement, Sports Business Journal (Apr. 30, 2024), https://www.sportsbusinessjournal.com/Articles/2024/04/30/house-v-ncaa-settlement-college-administrators-react?hl=College+Admins+gear+up&sc=0&publicationSource=search.

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[33] Id.

[34] See Michael McCann, Details Matter: NCAA Settling House and Carter Won’t End Legal Woes, Sportico (Apr. 30, 2024, 7:31 PM), https://www.sportico.com/law/analysis/2024/ncaa-settlements-house-carter-legal-problems-1234777448/.

[35] See Guy Lawson, ‘The Death of College Sports Will Be Fast and Furious:’ The Scandal That Could Kill the NCAA, RollingStone (Mar. 24, 2024), https://www.rollingstone.com/culture/culture-commentary/ncaa-college-sports-corruption-scandal-1234993227/.

[36] Michael McCann, FTC Noncompete Ban Looms Over Sports Execs, Coaches, NIL, Sportico (Apr. 23, 2024, 8:26 PM), https://www.sportico.com/law/analysis/2024/ftc-bans-noncompetes-sports-implications-1234776614/.

[37] Daniel Libit, IRS Letter an ‘Indictment’ of NIL Collectives’ Exempt Status, Sportico (Apr. 6, 2024, 3:43 PM), https://www.sportico.com/law/analysis/2024/ftc-bans-noncompetes-sports-implications-1234776614/.

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[38] See Kathy Miller Perkins, Creative Conflict: Tips for Change Leaders, Forbes (Sept. 18, 2023, 7:33 PM), https://www.forbes.com/sites/kathymillerperkins/2023/09/18/embrace-constructive-conflict-tips-for-change-makers/?sh=13737461755f. See also Bernard Mayer, Staying With Conflict (1st ed. 2009); Bernard Mayer, The Dynamics of Conflict (2nd ed. 2012); Bernard Mayer, The Conflict Paradox (1st ed. 2015).

[39] Eric Jackson, We Sued the League for $700M: How the Cowboys Reshaped the NFL, Sportico (Mar. 11, 2024, 6:14 PM), https://www.sportico.com/leagues/football/2024/we-sued-the-league-for-700m-how-dallas-cowboys-reshaped-the-nfl-1234770381/.

[40] See OSU, WSU Finalize Financial Settlement With Departing Pac-12 Schools, Sports Business Journal (Mar. 26, 2024),https://www.sportsbusinessjournal.com/Articles/2024/03/26/pac-12-financial-agreement?hl=Pac-12&sc=0&publicationSource=search.

[41] Amanda Christovich, Everything You Need to Know About the Legal Attempts to Kill the ACC, Front Office Sports (Apr. 21, 2024, 11:39 AM), https://frontofficesports.com/everything-you-need-to-know-about-the-legal-attempts-to-kill-the-acc/; Eben Novy-Williams, FSU Seminoles Eye $327M From Revenue Bonds Amid ACC Fight, Sportico (May 4, 2024, 5:12 PM), https://www.sportico.com/business/finance/2024/fsu-athletics-bonds-seminoles-acc-fight-1234777813/.

[42] See Ben Portnoy, Same Network, New Questions As ESPN Extends College Football Playoff Deal, Sports Business Journal (Mar. 25, 2024), https://www.sportsbusinessjournal.com/Articles/2024/03/25/college-football-playoff?hl=college+football+playoff&sc=0&publicationSource=search; Doric Sam, SEC, Big Ten Would’ve Left CFP If New Contract Wasn’t Reached, Say Sankey and Petitti, Bleacher Report (Apr. 22, 2024), https://bleacherreport.com/articles/10118001-sec-big-ten-wouldve-left-cfp-if-new-contract-wasnt-reached-say-sankey-and-petitti#:~:text=SEC%20Football-,SEC%2C%20Big%20Ten%20Would’ve%20Left%20CFP%20If%20New%20Contract,Reached%2C%20Say%20Sankey%20and%20Petitti&text=Prior%20to%20reaching%20an%20agreement,Big%20Ten%20from%20the%20postseason.

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[43] Chris Vannini, Helmut Communication, 2-Minute Warning Coming to College Football, The Athletic (Apr. 19, 2024), https://theathletic.com/5424958/2024/04/19/college-football-helmet-communication-2-minute-warning/#.

[44] See Nicole Auerbach, NCAA Changes Transfer Rules, Formalizing Era of Immediate Eligibility: How We Got Here, The Athletic (Apr. 16, 2024), https://theathletic.com/5419130/2024/04/16/college-football-transfer-portal-rule-changes/.

[45] See Scott Dochterman, How Name, Image and Likeness is Impacting NFL Draft Decisions: ‘That is Guaranteed Money’, The Athletic (Apr. 19, 2024),  https://theathletic.com/5423892/2024/04/19/nil-college-football-nfl-draft-depth-salaries-contracts/.

[46] See Joe Moglia, The Time Has Come for Power Five Football to Break From NCAA, Sportico (Mar. 27, 2024, 5:55 AM), https://www.sportico.com/leagues/college-sports/2024/time-for-power-conferences-break-from-ncaa-1234772535/.

[47] See Daniel Libit & Eben Novy-Williams, College Football ‘Super League’ Pitch Deck Details Breakaway Plan, Sportico (Apr. 16, 2024, 2:00 PM), https://www.sportico.com/leagues/college-sports/2024/college-football-super-league-pitch-deck-1234775652/; See also Group of Five School Administrators Considering Separate Playoff, Sports Business Journal (Apr. 24, 2024), https://www.sportsbusinessjournal.com/Articles/2024/04/24/college-football-group-of-five-playoff?hl=college+football+playoff&sc=0&publicationSource=search

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[48] Id. See also Andrew Marchand & Stewart Mandel, Inside the College Football ‘Super League,’ One Powerful Group’s Idea to Fix a “dead’ System, The Athletic (Apr. 3, 2024), https://theathletic.com/5383639/2024/04/03/college-football-super-league-cst-realignment/.

[49] David Ridpath, Super League Proposal Can Be Giant Step Forward for College Sports, Sportico (Apr. 24, 2024, 8:30 AM), https://theathletic.com/5383639/2024/04/03/college-football-super-league-cst-realignment/.

[50] See Derek Reese, What is Promotion and Relegation?, World Soccer Talk (Apr. 29, 2023), https://worldsoccertalk.com/news/what-is-promotion-and-relegation-20230205-WST-417286.html; How is European Soccer Structured With Leagues and Cup Competitions?, Bundesliga,  https://www.bundesliga.com/en/faq/what-are-the-rules-and-regulations-of-soccer/how-is-european-soccer-structured-with-leagues-and-cup-competitions-10568.

[51] See Tom Lamont, So, You Want to Buy a Pro Sports Team? Here’s How, GQ Sports (Jan. 16, 2024), https://www.gq.com/story/how-to-buy-a-pro-sports-team; Dan Moore, What’s Behind the Exploding Prices of Pro Sports Franchises?, The Ringer (Nov. 28, 2022, 8:28 AM), https://www.theringer.com/sports/2022/11/28/23472636/sports-team-franchise-valuation-sale-prices; See also Brendan Coffey, CVC IPO Offers Glimpse Into Private Equity Giant’s Sports Strategy, Sportico (Apr. 24, 2024, 5:55 AM), https://www.sportico.com/business/finance/2024/cvc-ipo-shows-sports-strategy-1234776582/; Jacob Feldman, Steve Ballmer Announces Halo Sports & Entertainment Portfolio, Sportico (Mar. 7, 2024, 10:00 AM), https://www.sportico.com/leagues/basketball/2024/steve-ballmer-halo-sports-entertainment-portfolio-1234769658/; Kurt Badenhausen, Harris, Blitzer Launch Youth Sports Firm Unrivaled as TCG Invests, Sportico (Mar. 27, 2024, 5:55 AM), https://www.sportico.com/business/commerce/2024/harris-blitzer-youth-sports-unrivaled-tcg-1234772563/.

[52] See Peter A. Carfagna, Negotiating and Drafting Sports Venue Agreements, (2nd ed. 2016).

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[53] JohnWallStreet, Secondary, Tertiary Markets Investing Billions in Stadium Construction Projects, JohnWallStreet (Apr. 9, 2024), https://blog.johnwallstreet.com/p/secondary-tertiary-markets-investing-billions-in-stadium-construction-projects; See also Andy Peters, Colleges Race to Build Athletic Training Facilities and Expand Stadiums, CoStar News (Aug. 28, 2023, 6:16 PM),  https://www.costar.com/article/1700575423/colleges-race-to-build-athletic-training-facilities-and-expand-stadiums.

[54] Brendan Coffey, How American Taxpayers Support Sports Teams and Athletes, Sportico (Apr. 17, 2024, 8:00AM), https://www.sportico.com/business/finance/2024/how-american-taxpayers-support-sports-1234775732/.

[55] See Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ), Purdue University, https://www.purdue.edu/trademarks-licensing/faq.php.

[56] See Eben Novy-Williams, Disputed T-Wolves Sale May Force NBA Rule Change, Silver Says, Sportico (Apr. 10, 2024, 4:58 PM), https://www.sportico.com/business/team-sales/2024/nba-adam-silver-timberwolves-sale-arod-lore-glen-taylor-1234774828/; Lev Akabas, NBA’s Load Management Policy Reduced Missed Games by Stars, Sportico (Apr. 16, 2024, 12:00 PM), https://www.sportico.com/leagues/basketball/2024/nba-awards-load-management-adam-silver-1234775529/.

[57] Michael McCann, The Last Dance of ‘Amateur’ March Madness, Sportico (Mar. 18, 2024, 5:55 AM), https://www.sportico.com/law/analysis/2024/march-madness-the-last-dance-1234771163/; The College Basketball Crown is the new tournament in town. See Eric Fisher, Fox Adds to Jumbled College Hoops Postseason with New Tournament, Front Office Sports (Apr. 3, 2024, 6:08 PM), https://frontofficesports.com/fox-adds-to-jumbled-college-hoops-postseason-with-new-tournament/.

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[58] Jacob Feldman, NBA G League Team Ignite Shuts Down Amid NIL Changes, Sportico (Mar. 18, 2024, 12:00 PM), https://www.sportico.com/leagues/basketball/2024/nba-g-league-ignite-future-nil-recruits-1234771262/.

[59] Kurt Badenhausen, NBA Explores Europe Options, Including Launch of New League, Sportico (Mar. 11, 2024, 5:55 AM), https://www.sportico.com/leagues/basketball/2024/nba-europe-new-league-euroleague-1234770112/.

[60] See Michael McCann, ESPN, FUBO Push Dueling Arguments In Streaming Antitrust Case, Sportico (Apr. 11, 2024, 7:37 AM), https://www.sportico.com/law/analysis/2024/espn-fubo-antitrust-lawsuit-1234774891/; Brendan Coffey, FUBO CEO Says TV FEE ‘Bullying Has Got To Stop’, Sportico (Mar. 6, 2024, 5:55 AM), https://www.sportico.com/business/finance/2024/fubo-david-gandler-sports-tv-bullying-1234769411/; See also JohnWallStreet, ESPN, FOX, WBD Product Just Another Virtual in Crowded Entertainment Marketplace, JohnWallStreet (Feb. 14, 2024), https://blog.johnwallstreet.com/p/espn-fox-wbd-jv-just-another-virtual-in-crowded-entertainment-marketplace; JohnWallStreet, Local Influencers, Content Creators Now Necessary Part of Sports Media Ecosystem, JohnWallStreet (Apr. 2, 2024), https://blog.johnwallstreet.com/p/local-influencers-content-creators-now-necessary-part-of-sports-media-ecosystem.

[61] Report: NBA Looking to Alter How it Delivers Games in New Media Deals, Sports Business Journal (Apr. 22, 2024), https://www.sportsbusinessjournal.com/Articles/2024/04/22/nba-new-media-rights-plans?hl=Report%3a+NBA+looking+to+alter+how+it+delivers&sc=0&publicationSource=search.

[62] Andrew Marchand, Amazon Prime Has Framework Deal for NBA Broadcast Rights, Per Sources, Putting Pressure on TNT, NBC, The Athletic (Apr. 26, 2024), https://theathletic.com/5450064/2024/04/26/nba-broadcasting-rights-amazon-prime-video/.

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[63] See Anthony Crupi, WBD Preps NBA Counteroffer As Sir Charles’ Waiting Game Continues, Sportico (May 3, 2024, 5:21 PM), https://www.sportico.com/business/media/2024/charles-barkley-tnt-wbd-preps-nba-counteroffer-rights-deal-1234777749/; Anthony Crupi, NBA Rights Renewal Race Could Pose Existential Threat to WBD, Sportico (Apr. 30, 2024, 4:59 PM), https://www.sportico.com/business/media/2024/nba-rights-renewal-race-warner-bros-discovery-existential-threat-1234777393/.

[64] See Eben Novy-Williams, NBA, WNBA Media Rights Better Off Sold Together: Adam Silver, Sportico (Apr. 11, 2024, 12:22 PM), https://www.sportico.com/business/media/2024/nba-wnba-media-rights-sold-together-separate-1234774937/. See also Anthony Crupi, NFL’s Rolapp Stands by TV in Face of Streaming Questions, Sportico (Mar. 21, 2024, 3:01 PM), https://www.sportico.com/business/media/2024/nfl-brian-rolapp-tv-streaming-super-bowl-1234771936/; Anthony Crupi, NFL Helps Peacock Book $1.1 Billion While Streamer’s Losses Narrow, Sportico (Apr. 25, 2024, 11:34 AM), https://www.sportico.com/business/media/2024/peacock-revenue-1-billion-nfl-wild-card-game-1234776809/; Dylan Manfre, Want A Day Off After the Super Bowl? So Does Roger Goodell, Sportico (Apr. 26, 2024, 4:09 PM), https://www.sportico.com/leagues/football/2024/roger-goodell-super-bowl-schedule-change-nfl-1234776986/; Brendan Coffey, NFL Teams Take Advantage of New Debt Limits, Float $1.5B in Loans, Sportico (Mar. 28, 2024, 6:38 PM), https://www.sportico.com/leagues/football/2024/nfl-debt-fitch-ratings-1234772992/.

[65] JohnWallStreet, Cord Cutting Could Be The Best Thing To Happen To Pro Leagues, JohnWallStreet (Apr. 23, 2024), https://blog.johnwallstreet.com/p/cord-cutting-could-be-best-thing-to-happen-to-pro-leagues.

[66] Werner Geyser, The Incredible Growth of eSports [+ eSports Statistics], Influencer Marketing Hub (Jan. 30, 2024), https://influencermarketinghub.com/esports-stats/.

[67] Adam Stone, Maximizing ROI: Lessons from Collegiate Esports Investments, EdTech (Feb. 23, 2022), https://edtechmagazine.com/higher/article/2022/02/maximizing-roi-lessons-collegiate-esports-investments#:~:text=Schools%20are%20mostly%20trying%20to,could%20be%20a%20revenue%20generator..

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[68] See League Info, NBA 2k League https://2kleague.nba.com/league-info/.

[69] See Kevin Hitt, How Can Saudi Money Help Stabilize, Grow Esports over the Long Term?, Sports Business Journal (Apr. 4, 2024),   https://www.sportsbusinessjournal.com/Articles/2024/04/04/saudi-esports?hl=how+can+Saudi+money+help+stabilize%2c+grow+esports&sc=0&publicationSource=search.

[70] See Flag Football, International Olympic Committee https://olympics.com/en/sports/flag-football/; Jason Wilson, NFL Sees 2k Playmakers As Both A Second-Screen Experience, Year-Round Engagement Tool, Sports Business Journal (Apr. 25, 2024), https://www.sportsbusinessjournal.com/Articles/2024/04/25/nfl-sees-2k-playmakers-as-second-screen-experience-and-engagement-tool?hl=NFL+sees+2k+players+as+both&sc=0&publicationSource=search.

[71] Official Rules, Madden Championship Series https://www.ea.com/games/madden-nfl/madden-nfl-24/compete/official-rules.

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Author

  • Takaze Turner

    Takaze A. Turner, a distinguished figure at the intersection of entertainment and law, showcases a profound passion for anime, cinema, and gaming. His academic journey commenced at the Ohio State University, where he excelled in English, earning his degree with cum laude honors. Furthering his legal education, Takaze achieved his Juris Doctor from the University of Missouri School of Law, before embarking on specialized legal studies. He has since attained an LL.M. in Business Law from Florida State University College of Law and an LL.M. in Entertainment Law from the University of Miami School of Law. Currently, he is enhancing his expertise by pursuing an LL.M. in Taxation Law at the same institution. Takaze’s multifaceted legal education, coupled with his deep-rooted interests in entertainment, positions him uniquely within the legal landscape. His academic accomplishments reflect a dedicated pursuit of knowledge across various sectors of law, particularly those intersecting with the business and entertainment industries. At the core of his professional journey is a commitment to understanding and navigating the complex legalities surrounding entertainment and media, ensuring he remains a pivotal figure in legal discussions related to these dynamic fields. His ongoing pursuit of an LL.M. in Taxation Law further exemplifies his dedication to broadening his legal acumen, underscoring his role as a key contributor to the legal community, especially in areas where law meets entertainment and technology.

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Legal Regulation of eSports in Chile

eSports presents novel legal challenges for regulators globally, with Chile experiencing its unique set of complications due to existing legislative frameworks. This analysis explores the intersection of Chilean gambling laws and eSports, emphasizing the legislative gaps and ambiguities that currently govern this rapidly growing industry. The paper aims to dissect the pertinent legal provisions and propose avenues for legislative reform, ensuring that eSports can thrive within a clearly defined legal environment in Chile.

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Esports in Chile | ELN

Introduction

In Chile, the rise of eSports has highlighted significant gaps in the existing legal framework, particularly concerning the classification and regulation of these activities. Unlike traditional sports, eSports involve virtual competitions that can include elements typically associated with gambling, such as entry fees and monetary rewards. This article examines Chile’s gambling laws, their applicability to eSports, and the legal challenges that arise from the current regulatory landscape.

Chile’s legal approach to gambling is primarily governed by the Ley N° 19.995, which establishes the bases for the authorization, functioning, and supervision of casino games. The regulatory body, Superintendencia de Casinos de Juego (SCJ), oversees these activities. However, eSports fall outside the explicit regulatory scope of this law, as they are not conducted in physical venues like casinos and are not solely dependent on chance.

  1. Article 3 of Ley N° 19.995: This article defines games of chance as those where the outcomes are predominantly subject to chance rather than player skill. eSports, where outcomes predominantly depend on players’ skills, strategies, and decision-making, challenge this definition. However, the lack of explicit recognition and differentiation in the law creates a gray area regarding their regulation.
  2. Decree No. 2385 on Municipal Revenues: This law grants municipalities the authority to regulate and license certain types of local games. While designed for traditional games, its broad language could theoretically extend to eSports events, adding another layer of complexity for organizers who must navigate local regulations that are not tailored to the digital nature of eSports.
  3. Consumer Protection Law (Ley N° 21.081): While not directly regulating gambling or eSports, this law protects consumers against misleading practices. It becomes relevant when considering how eSports are marketed and the clarity provided to participants regarding the nature of their participation and the use of their entry fees.

Challenges Arising from Current Legislation

The primary challenge in the current legal framework is the lack of specific provisions addressing the digital and virtual nature of eSports. This omission leads to several practical issues:

  • Uncertainty and Inconsistency: Event organizers and participants face uncertainty about the legality of their activities, potential liabilities, and the applicability of gambling laws.
  • Inadequate Consumer Protection: Without clear regulations, consumers may not be adequately informed about their rights or the nature of the events in which they are participating, potentially leading to disputes and dissatisfaction.
  • Inhibiting Industry Growth: The legal uncertainty can deter investment and hinder the development of a structured eSports market in Chile, which is crucial for the professionalization and global competitiveness of this sector.

Proposed Solutions for Legislative Reform

To foster a conducive environment for the growth of eSports in Chile, the following legislative reforms could help eSports:

  1. Explicit Recognition and Definition: Introduce specific legislation that clearly defines eSports, distinguishing them from gambling activities based on their skill-based nature.
  2. Regulatory Framework Development: Develop a tailored regulatory framework that addresses both the digital nature of eSports and the physical venues where events might be held.
  3. Stakeholder Engagement: Involve key stakeholders, including gamers, event organizers, legal experts, and consumer protection agencies, in the legislative process to ensure that the regulations are comprehensive and practical.

Conclusion

The legal challenges currently facing the eSports industry in Chile require thoughtful consideration and action from lawmakers. By addressing the gaps in the existing legal framework and introducing clear, tailored legislation, Chile can better support the growth and sustainability of eSports while protecting the interests of all parties involved. Establishing such a legal foundation is essential for Chile to remain competitive and innovative in the global eSports arena.

With material from: La Voz de Chile

Author

  • Leonid Shmatenko

    Leonid Shmatenko is part of Eversheds Sutherlands’ data protection and technology law team. He has vast experience in regulatory and general issues in the areas of eSports and Blockchain. He advises eSports associations and clubs on all legal issues, advises and supports crypto startups in all matters from planning, preparation to execution of private and public token offerings (so-called Initial Coin Offerings or ICOs). Furthermore, Leonid Shmatenko specializes in international arbitration and has participated in several arbitration proceedings (SAC, ICC, DIS, UNCITRAL, ICSID, ad hoc) as a party representative and secretary of the tribunal. Leonid Shmatenko studied at the Heinrich Heine University in Düsseldorf and is currently pursuing a PhD in international law. After his successful first state examination (2011), he completed his legal clerkship, inter alia, at the German Embassy in Lima and within international law firms in Düsseldorf and Paris. He passed the second state examination in 2015. He is an external lecturer at the National Law University of Ukraine “Yaroslav Mudryi”, where he teaches International Investment Law. He is admitted to the Bar in Switzerland and Germany. Before joining Eversheds Sutherland, Leonid Shmatenko worked as an attorney at leading law firms in Geneva, Munich and Paris.

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Esports Washing: A New Chapter in Russian Esports with the Formation of ARKI

The landscape of Russian esports is undergoing a transformative shift with the formation of the Cyber Sports Infrastructure Development Association (ARKI), another initiative for ‘esports washing’. Industry giants, led by Langame, a developer of specialized software for cyber clubs, are uniting to advance the sector. Dmitry Lukin, the founder of Langame, and Pavel Golubev, the company head, have pioneered this initiative.

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Esports Washing in Russia ARKI | ELN

A Unified Front in Russian Esports

The Russian esports industry is witnessing a significant transformation and another step in esports washing as major players unite to form the Cyber Sports Infrastructure Development Association (ARKI). Spearheaded by Langame, a developer of specialized software for cyber clubs, ARKI promises to redefine the esports landscape in Russia.

Founded by Langame’s founder, Dmitry Lukin, and company head Pavel Golubev, ARKI is already gaining traction with prominent cyber club networks like Colizeum, True Gamers, and CyberX, as well as EZ Katka and F5 Cyber Sports Center, joining as members. This move signifies a united effort to bolster the industry’s growth and address the challenges it faces, including taxation and regulatory recognition.

The establishment of ARKI marks an era of proactive engagement for the industry. With 460 clubs under Colizeum, 114 arenas across Russia and CIS under True Gamers, and 220 clubs with CyberX, the association commands a significant presence in the esports sector. ARKI is not just for club networks but is open to hardware suppliers, software developers, and representatives from gaming industries and esports organizations, reflecting a comprehensive approach to industry challenges.

Navigating the Tax Jungle

One of ARKI’s primary goals is to advocate for the inclusion of cyber clubs and esports arenas in the patent tax system, a move that would simplify the tax process by allowing clubs to pay a fixed sum based on their specific type and location of operations. This system could replace the traditional tax declaration and payment process, offering a streamlined approach beneficial for smaller entities.

“The introduction of a tax system tailored for esports arenas and cyber clubs could significantly ease the bureaucratic burden these entities currently face,”

a Langame spokesperson explained.

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Redefining Esports as a Sport

In addition to tax reform, ARKI aims to work on the legislative recognition of computer clubs and esports arenas as official sports venues. This recognition could transform how these entities operate and are perceived within the wider sports and recreational sectors.

The move towards forming ARKI is seen as a logical step in the evolution of the esports industry, which has already surpassed movie theaters in revenue generation. Many clubs are privately owned and categorize their revenue under equipment rental, which aligns with ARKI’s interest in patent tax utilization, indicating a strategic move towards financial optimization and regulatory compliance.

Moreover, Vasily Ovchinnikov, head of the Video Game Industry Development Organization, supports this initiative, highlighting its potential to dismantle barriers and foster growth. He notes the complex nature of the current system where computer clubs are taxed similarly to entertainment segments, which ARKI could address through its advocacy for beneficial tax positions and legislative recognition.

Esports vs. Traditional Entertainment: A Financial Juggernaut

The formation of ARKI is not merely a business maneuver but a reflection of the esports industry’s growth trajectory, which now outpaces traditional cinema in terms of revenue.

“The esports industry has evolved from a niche entertainment sector to a major economic entity, necessitating a formal structure like ARKI to advocate for its interests,”

noted Vasily Ovchinnikov, head of the Video Game Industry Development Organization. However, this rapid growth has not been without its challenges. The existing tax regime, tailored more towards general entertainment than competitive gaming, imposes a significant financial burden on club owners, who often categorize their revenues under equipment rental to mitigate tax liabilities.

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Interestingly, the Russian Esports Federation (RESF) of Russia, established in 2016, has also been active in promoting the interests of the industry, achieving recognition of esports as an official discipline, and advocating for benefits such as military service deferments for esports athletes. However, ARKI’s formation signifies a broader coalition aiming to enhance the structural and regulatory framework of the esports industry further.

Sporting Venue or Recreational Facility? The Ongoing Debate

The distinction between recreational and sporting venues becomes particularly poignant in locations where alcohol sales can coexist with esports activities, as in shopping centers.

“The coexistence of alcohol sales and esports competitions in the same venues complicates their classification and requires careful regulatory consideration,”

Ovchinnikov added. This situation necessitates a clear regulatory framework to distinguish between purely entertainment-oriented clubs and those that genuinely foster competitive esports.

The Future of Russian Esports

For the industry, the stakes are high, and the potential is immense. With esports clubs seeing a 15% revenue increase in 2023 alone, reaching 23 billion rubles, the formation of ARKI could be the cornerstone of a new developmental phase for Russian esports. This unified approach could not only address immediate financial and regulatory challenges but also pave the way for a sustainable and recognized esports ecosystem in Russia.

Russia’s Esports Strategy

While the strategic formation of ARKI highlights the potential of Russian esports, it also casts a light on a broader tactic often seen in Russian governance: leveraging emerging industries like esports to project a modern, technologically advanced image while possibly overlooking deeper systemic issues such as regulation and international perception. This ‘esports washing’ raises questions about the sincerity of efforts to nurture the industry organically versus using it as a facade for enhancing national prestige.

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With material from: kommersant.ru

Author

  • Leonid Shmatenko

    Leonid Shmatenko is part of Eversheds Sutherlands’ data protection and technology law team. He has vast experience in regulatory and general issues in the areas of eSports and Blockchain. He advises eSports associations and clubs on all legal issues, advises and supports crypto startups in all matters from planning, preparation to execution of private and public token offerings (so-called Initial Coin Offerings or ICOs). Furthermore, Leonid Shmatenko specializes in international arbitration and has participated in several arbitration proceedings (SAC, ICC, DIS, UNCITRAL, ICSID, ad hoc) as a party representative and secretary of the tribunal. Leonid Shmatenko studied at the Heinrich Heine University in Düsseldorf and is currently pursuing a PhD in international law. After his successful first state examination (2011), he completed his legal clerkship, inter alia, at the German Embassy in Lima and within international law firms in Düsseldorf and Paris. He passed the second state examination in 2015. He is an external lecturer at the National Law University of Ukraine “Yaroslav Mudryi”, where he teaches International Investment Law. He is admitted to the Bar in Switzerland and Germany. Before joining Eversheds Sutherland, Leonid Shmatenko worked as an attorney at leading law firms in Geneva, Munich and Paris.

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General

ELN Announcement: Launch of Esports Legal Wiki and a Call for Papers

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ELN Announcement Launch of Esports Legal Wiki

We are thrilled to announce the official launch of the Esports Legal Wiki, a groundbreaking new resource in the field of esports law, edited by Dr Despoina Farmaki and Leonid Shmatenko. This comprehensive digital encyclopedia features over 60 detailed legal definitions and analyses authored by a distinguished panel of experts in the esports legal domain. We extend our heartfelt thanks to the following contributors for their invaluable insights and expertise:

Esports Legal News (ELN) is also excited to promote Dr. Despoina Farmaki to Chief Academic Officer. Dr. Farmaki, who has played a pivotal role in the development of the Esports Legal Wiki, will not only oversee the finalization of this extensive project but will also spearhead an exciting new academic initiative set to be unveiled in the first quarter of 2025.

We invite scholars and practitioners from around the world to contribute to the Esports Legal Wiki. Your submissions will help ensure that this platform remains a cutting-edge, authoritative source for legal professionals, scholars, and anyone interested in the legal aspects of esports.

To participate, please refer to the attached call for papers and submission guidelines. Your contributions are crucial to the success and continual growth of this essential legal resource.

Thank you to all our contributors and supporters for making this project possible. We look forward to your ongoing engagement and to revealing further innovations in the near future.

If you wish to cite the Esports Legal Wiki in your scholarly works, the suggested citation is: “Author’s name, “Term”, in: Farmaki/Shmatenko (eds.), ELN Esports Legal Wiki, Link to Wiki entry, Last updated.”

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Author

  • Leonid Shmatenko

    Leonid Shmatenko is part of Eversheds Sutherlands’ data protection and technology law team. He has vast experience in regulatory and general issues in the areas of eSports and Blockchain. He advises eSports associations and clubs on all legal issues, advises and supports crypto startups in all matters from planning, preparation to execution of private and public token offerings (so-called Initial Coin Offerings or ICOs). Furthermore, Leonid Shmatenko specializes in international arbitration and has participated in several arbitration proceedings (SAC, ICC, DIS, UNCITRAL, ICSID, ad hoc) as a party representative and secretary of the tribunal. Leonid Shmatenko studied at the Heinrich Heine University in Düsseldorf and is currently pursuing a PhD in international law. After his successful first state examination (2011), he completed his legal clerkship, inter alia, at the German Embassy in Lima and within international law firms in Düsseldorf and Paris. He passed the second state examination in 2015. He is an external lecturer at the National Law University of Ukraine “Yaroslav Mudryi”, where he teaches International Investment Law. He is admitted to the Bar in Switzerland and Germany. Before joining Eversheds Sutherland, Leonid Shmatenko worked as an attorney at leading law firms in Geneva, Munich and Paris.

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