Posts in Esports
Esports Levels Up - Franchising & Antitrust

The year was 2017. It was a simpler time - no 16 seed had beat a 1 seed in March - but that is when the world of esports revolutionized. League of Legends had announced its 2018 season of the North America League Championship Series would move to a franchise model. The Overwatch League (“OWL”), a franchise league for Blizzard’s popular title Overwatch, was beginning to take shape. And then, like UMBC’s upset, the NBA announced an esports franchise league out of nowhere: the NBA 2K League (“2K League”). For the inaugural season of the League, seventeen of the thirty NBA franchises will participate.

Up until the announcement of the 2K League, every franchise league looked like a shell of what we know. For example, the the OWL has city based teams, like the San Francisco Shock, player minimums, and player benefits. The announcement of the OWL promised more than this shell, specifically announcing a player combine and draft. These events, however, never came to fruition. Then came the 2K League, with not only player minimums and and city based teams, but also a combine and a draft. The 2K League announced an application process, followed up by a player combine, and then a draft. Thousands applied, 250 people participated in the combine, 102 and will be draft eligible. The combine ran through the month of February and the draft lottery order was selected on March 13 (with Mavs Gaming, the Dallas Mavericks, winning the first overall pick). The draft will take place April 4 at The Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden’s Lobby (1 p.m. ET).

Although it is incredible to see the growth of esports and creation of franchise leagues, one has to wonder whether these leagues will ever face litigation surrounding a complex body of law that all traditional sports leagues have faced: Antitrust. This post seeks to give a 30,000 foot view of antitrust, what defenses/exemptions are available, and present arguments for the leagues. A majority of the discussion will focus on the 2K League because, to me, it presents the greatest antitrust battle.

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Overwatch League Starts Strong In Its Stance On Player Conduct Expectations

The Overwatch League (OWL) began a few weeks ago and saw, in my opinion, a pretty successful inaugural weekend! Viewership has dropped a bit since, but that is to be expected to an extent. As its second week of competition began, though, the OWL experienced what could be called its first bit of "sports law" controversy - Félix "xQc" Lengyel, the tank for the Dallas Fuel, made some anti-gay slurs about one of his Houston Outlaws opponents on Thursday night on his personal Twitch account livestream after the Outlaws shut out the Fuel, 4-0. Austin "Muma" Wilmot, the tank for the Outlaws, is openly gay, & despite xQc stating afterward that he had no malicious intent in his remarks, OWL chose to stay strong in its disciplinary stance.

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2018 Sports Law Hot Topics To Watch

Per usual, I would like to make my predictions regarding what topics I believe will be extra sizzlin' in 2018, but I will do so in a slightly different way. Here are brief descriptions of what each topic is, some insight as to why I have it on my predictions list, and who you can pay attention to for the latest news, updates, and analysis throughout the upcoming year:

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Reflecting on My "2017 Sports Law Hot Topics To Watch" Predictions

If Deflategate's courtroom battles placed "sports law" into mainstream conversation in 2015-2016, then 2017 gave sports law an entire fleet of those Wacky Waving Inflatable Arm Flailing Tubemen [Note: If you do not understand the reference, I encourage you to click the link.] As we step - no, run - into a new year embracing all the change that is more likely than not going to occur, I would like to put the past twelve months into perspective and reflect on what I predicted would be the sports law hot topics to watch in 2017, what happened and what did not, and see whether the topics attained some means of closure. All in all, I can proudly say that my umbrella picture that 2017 would be a continuation of prevalent sports law trends was pretty accurate.

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Why I Changed My Mind & Believe eSports Is A Sport, Part 2: The Games

As promised, Part 2 & Part 3 in this series outline facts about eSports and the community across the globe. There is a lot of information I could relay here, but I will break it up into two parts to ease you into this side of the debate. eSports is more than meets the eye on the surface. A particular type of game demonstrates that, as you will see below:

What is eSports?

In general terms, eSports is competitive video gaming. There are single-player games in addition to multiplayer games, there are teams for the multiplayer games, and there are different game consoles players can use (e.g., Xbox, desktop computer). Players and viewers come from both genders, though the ratio is terribly lopsided. Most notably, the variety of game structures can be categorized into a few genres so that players know what to expect from the game and can master a particular type of game..

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