World Esports League established: CMS and SKW Schwarz advise on development of new regulations and models

11.02.2021

After two years of negotiations, the “Louvre Agreement” established the first world league between the Electronic Sports League (ESL) and the twelve leading international teams in esports for Counter Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO). At over 80 million hours of total hours watched in 2020, the CS:GO ProLeague is one of the world's most watched leagues in CS:GO, ranking second in international esports.

After the basic framework had already been defined at the beginning of 2020, the constitutions, rules of the game, and agreements required for such a world league have now been drafted at all levels and in all details and agreed between the 13 parties. The constitution that will govern this world league is only partially based on existing models from classic sports. For the most part, new rules and roles in the league’s decision-making process were developed to meet the requirements of this new market, including transfer rules, compliance, arbitration rules, and governance, as well as new models for revenue sharing from the exploitation of media and sponsorship rights.

Participating teams include Faze, NaVi, Fnatic, NiP, Liquid, EG, Vitality, Mouz, G2, Complexity, ENCE, and Astralis. ESL has grown to become the world's largest esports company since 2000, hosting international leagues and tournaments such as ESL One, Intel® Extreme Masters, ESL Pro League, and ESL National Championships. ESL is a member of Swedish media group Modern Times Group.

“It presented a particular challenge to get twelve international companies to agree on a new set of global rules on which to base the operations of this new world league for the next few years,” said Dr. Andreas Peschel-Mehner, Lead Counsel to the founding teams jointly with Moritz Mehner, Head of the Esports Focus Group at SKW Schwarz.

“With this set of rules, a legal framework in esports has been developed for the first time that enables companies to develop esports sustainably and in a way that is fit for the future,” added Dr. Pietro Graf Fringuelli, Lead Counsel to the ESL.

Counsel to ESL:
CMS Hasche Sigle
Dr. Pietro Graf Fringuelli, Lead, Partner, Media Law
Dr. Malte Bruhns, Partner, Corporate
Kai Neuhaus, Partner, Antitrust Law
Thomas Gerdel, Partner, Tax
Dr. Benjamin Lissner, Partner, Dispute Resolution
Dr. Thomas Sonnenberg, Partner, Compliance
Dr. Patrick Ehinger, Senior Associate, Media Law
Thorsten Hemme, Principal Counsel, Media Law
Martin Lukas Landmann, Senior Associate, Media Law

Counsel to Teams:
SKW Schwarz
Moritz Mehner, Lead, Senior Associate, Head of Esports Focus Group
Dr. Andreas Peschel-Mehner, Lead, Partner, Media Law
Dr. Stephan Morsch, Partner, Corporate
Sandra Sophia Redeker, Partner, IP
Tobias Voßberg, Associate, Esports Focus Group
Dr. Ulrich Reber, Partner, Arbitration, Dispute Resolution
Eva Bonacker, Counsel, Antitrust Law

The teams were also advised on U.S. law by esports law firm ESG Law, led by Bryce Blum.

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