Reed Smith Client Alerts

More robust Internet connectivity, the proliferative release and adoption of new competitive titles, as well as increasing brand investment into e-sports have catalyzed the rapid growth of online e-sports tournaments. Although this growth presents exciting opportunities for organizers and brands, there are a number of challenges for stakeholders to consider and address. We set out below five of the most common challenges.

Authors: Bryan Tan Hannah Kong Sophie Goossens Nick Breen Casey H. Yang Eng Han Goh (Resource Law LLC)

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Online e-sports tournaments do not suffer from typical disruptions like bad weather and issues with venues such as availability, health and safety, ticketing, and licensing. However, they can suffer other disruptions, in particular technological disruptions, especially when e-sports athletes compete from the comfort of their own homes. Online e-sports tournaments require high bandwidth and low latency Internet connections. Any fluctuation in speed or connection interruption (even if for milliseconds) can cause significant disruptions for athletes. Recently, current Formula 1 champion Max Verstappen quit an online e-sports tournament after repeated connection issues, complaining that he would have better odds of winning in a casino.

However, these disruptions can be mitigated with careful planning. While it is impractical for organizers to invoke contractual assurances and legal obligations to resolve urgent disputes during live gameplay, organizers should ensure that appropriate service levels are imposed on service providers, as well as implementing backup procedures and continuity plans. Organizers should also draft clear tournament rules to ensure that disruptions will be handled in a fair and reasonable manner.