Is it sport? Or, is it “just” entertainment? Well, we view esports as its own thing, taking aspects from both sectors; while it can apply to a sports context in its competitive nature, the skill and reactions of the players, and the strategic elements, it sure is entertaining. It’s also experiencing significant growth in support, interest, investment, and revenues.
Esports also has its own unique legal issues, requiring expertise, connections, and insight.
Over the past 18 months our Managing Lawyer, Mat Jessep, has advised esports:
- players, coaches, and managers;
- support staff;
- event organisers; and
- the Australian national esports industry body, Esports Games Association Australia
around the local esports scene in Australia, as well as ‘traditional’ sporting bodies, teams, athletes, sponsors, and rights holders in the local traditional sports space on what esports is and where it is going.
Along with around 15 years in the corporate sector in marketing management roles, over the past 8 years + (and more recently in esports) Mat has used his combined experiences to develop particular expertise in advising clients in relation to:
- disputes and issues management;
- trade marks and brand protection;
- team/property acquisitions and trade sales;
- sponsorship agreements and negotiations – endemic and non-endemic;
- sports governance issues;
- governing body incorporation;
- player contracts; and
- the development of strategy and effective corporate structures for the commercialisation of sports properties and risk mitigation.
In doing so, Mat can lay claim to being one of the most experienced and dedicated lawyers in the local esports scene.
- Investors – assisted and advised an inbound, non-endemic investor group on their investment into and purchase of an organisation running a team in the LOL OPL competition. This work has branched out to employment law and structural issues.
- Teams – drafted player contracts, advised on sponsorship matters, and assisted with player contact buy-out agreements and related issues.
- Players, streamers, support staff – advice (usually pro bono, and ad-hoc, via social media) on contract matters – reviews and suggested amendments.
- Players, Coach, Manager – advice and representation to players, the coach, and manager of an LOL team in the OPL in relation to a dispute with the team management. The matter was resolved privately and the League handed down a competitive ruling against the team.
Following on from his initial work in esports, Mat saw a real need for a national body (if not a global one) that can represent, inform, support, and provide a transparent framework that might direct the various stakeholders in the esports scene for its mutual benefit, stability, and growth – a national governing body (using sports terminology) or a peak industry body (using entertainment business concepts) to regulate the various interactions between market participants and ensure that the scene can professionalise. Mat distilled his initial thoughts on how the local scene might best evolve in his paper from May 2017: Keeping it professional in esports.
Quite serendipitously, Mat got introduced to industry leaders, Nick Vanzetti and Dave Harris, in late 2016 and from their invitation Mat became involved on the Board of what has become the Esports Games Association Australia (EGAA) in early 2017. This work saw Mat assist the other Board Members with structural, legal, governance, regulatory, and constitutional matters. Under Mat’s direction, a constitution was drafted, which lays the foundation for a robust and flexible member based and driven organisation for the advancement of esports in Australia and New Zealand.
In late 2017 Mat stepped down from the Board of EGAA to continue the operational roll-out of the EGAA as Interim CEO while the Board sources a more permanent CEO to lead the executive function moving forward.
Mat is also regularly requested to speak on esports from a legal and regulatory aspect to University students and sports lawyers.
If you are a stakeholder in esports, or want to get into esports, or even just want to learn more and make connections, contact Mat Jessep on:
Tel: +61 (0)2 8007 4747