In the world of eSports, League of Legends ("LoL") is king. Gamers might wear headphones instead of sweatbands, but they rely on teamwork, leadership and play-calling, just like their NCAA counterparts. Even though University of Washington is not headed to this year’s NCAA tournament, it took home the title in the first ever LoL North American Collegiate Championship.
While LoL is not yet the most popular video game ever created, its prominence as a spectator sport is entering uncharted legal territory. As an emerging sport, LoL has the unique opportunity to learn from the history of other sports and their ongoing market innovations, legal battles, and collective bargaining. However, the differences between eSports and more “mainstream” sports result in legal climates that are also quite distinct. This article outlines the bargaining opportunities available to the essential parties in the professional LoL community. It then compares the two primary bargaining alternatives, analyzing how the different paths have the potential to affect the sport and the legal relationships between the game’s creator, Riot Games, Inc. (“Riot”), the teams, and professional players.
Foster Pepper's Media, Entertainment and Games industry group is pleased to present our second White Paper (PDF) covering hot topics related to the rise of competitive video gaming.
Also, don't miss the first League of Legends Article Series installment, The Rise of eSports (PDF), published on January 30, 2014.
Questions? Contact Stephen D. Fisher or Yan Perng.