We combine outstanding legal expertise in Digital Business, Technology, Data Protection, IP, Work 4.0, and M&A for tech start-ups with our long-standing passion in Media & Entertainment. Many of our young team members grew up with esports and continue to be passionate about it. This makes us the ideal partner for a wide range of stakeholders in the esports sector, irrespective of their specific role in the ecosystem.

Using our unique 360° approach, we advise clients across the entire range of the esports ecosystem.

Esports refers to competitive video games. Such competitions require not only organizers and participants, but also an extended ecosystem of online platform operators, analog venues, sponsors, advertisers, investors, or betting operators. We apply our unique 360° approach to advise all of these esports ecosystem members. Our firm is combining the outstanding and well-established expertise in entertainment with our extensive knowledge of the specifics of the relatively young esports ecosystem. The heterogeneous character of esports ranges from purely regional to global stakeholders, varying in detail according to the respective games publisher’s strategy.

Tournament organizers

Esports tournaments are either organized by the games publishers themselves or by third-party providers which organize their own competitions under license or at least with the publisher’s approval or that support games publishers as a white label provider. Our team is available to all these companies to advise them on all legal issues relating to organizing and holding competitions. We accompany our clients from establishing a league to drafting contracts (including on licensing esports titles or competition and gaming rules) to obtaining all relevant regulatory approvals or even organizing sweepstakes for the community. Our advisory practice and experience covers all professionalization levels, ranging from small (online) tournaments to developing a global franchise league. This makes us the ideal partner in every situation.

Competitors

The same applies to the organizations (“clans,” “orgs,” “guilds,” “teams,” “clubs” or “associations”) that are participating in such competitions. Our team advises amateur clubs and world-leading organizations on all levels and in all areas, from articles of association or shareholders’ agreements to esports player and/or content creator employment contracts, participation in competitions, but also financing or M&A deals. The appropriate implementation is always based on the company’s intended purpose. We also understand the benefits of esports beyond its purpose as a competition, for example as a means for employer branding and talent acquisition of non-endemic firms.

Esports is not only competition

The successful use and exploitation and the marketing of the competitions or the brands represented therein are the basic requirements for the success of all stakeholders in an esports ecosystem, irrespective of their individual role. This is what we are focusing on in our work, whether in relation to licensing media rights or data rights, the right strategy and safeguarding of advertising, product placement, merchandising or sponsorship partnerships, or the integration of commercial betting providers. We always gladly contribute our expertise – be it through experience of best practices from other established industries or by way of innovative, new approaches that are considerate of esports specifics. We also focus on incorporating new technologies such as blockchain and their various uses. To overcome the challenges of this up-and-coming sector, it could further help to jointly establish (legal) industry standards to curb unlicensed secondary and tertiary exploitation of creations that is still relatively common and to offer a thoroughly professionalized basis to the sector’s rapid growth.

Esports Level Up by SKW Schwarz

In November 2019, SKW Schwarz organized a major industry event in cooperation with SPORT1 as well as the German Esports Association (ESBD). All sector representatives and anyone interested in esport were cordially invited to attend.

In January 2021, SKW Schwarz organized the event together with SPORT1 for the second time. Over 380 guests tuned in to the event, which was streamed digitally for the first time from a studio in Berlin via Twitch and could thus be viewed by an international audience with guests from the media, gaming & Esports and business. Moderator Yinsu Collins from eSPORTSONE moderated the event. 

Our 9 experts for Esports

Dr. Martin  Böttger

Dr. Martin Böttger

Partner

Dr. Markus  Brock

Dr. Markus Brock

Partner

Korbinian  Hauf

Korbinian Hauf

Associate

Dr. Johann  Heyde

Dr. Johann Heyde

Partner

Moritz  Mehner

Moritz Mehner

Senior Associate

Nepomuk  Nothelfer

Nepomuk Nothelfer

Research assistant

Dr. Andreas  Peschel-Mehner

Dr. Andreas Peschel-Mehner

Partner

Sandra Sophia  Redeker

Sandra Sophia Redeker

Partner

Götz  Schneider-Rothhaar

Götz Schneider-Rothhaar

Partner