If you’re a professional gamer, there’s a strong chance you’ll receive an Esports contract at some point in the future. But, what exactly should an Esports contract include? Find out, here…
As we all know, Esports is on a seemingly never-ending climb, with the industry hitting brand new heights year after year. That meteoric rise has provided plenty of opportunities to budding professional gamers, many of which are given official Esports contracts to solidify their rise to the top.
But, unlike many other industries, multiple reports have suggested that Esports contracts remain unregulated. This means many professional gamers are unsuspectedly caught up in legal storms and are forced to seek the advice of a commercial litigation solicitor.
So, in this post, we’ve compiled a list of things every professional gamer should be looking for when they are offered an Esports contract. This should ensure that they aren’t caught off guard by any sneaky legal loopholes or unfavorable obligations.
8 Things to Watch Out for in an Esports Contract
1. Legal Jargon
There’s no getting around the fact that legal contracts, including Esports contracts, are always going to be full of legal jargon. These phrases won’t always be easy to understand if you don’t have a background in contract law!
There are too many different legal phrases to list, so if you think that you’re likely to struggle with this before being offered an Esports contract, it’s sensible to seek the advice of a commercial solicitor or legal professional. They’ll be able to carefully guide you through the legal details of your contract and ensure you fully understand its phrasing before you even think about putting pen to paper.
2. The Country or Jurisdiction of the Contract
The country or state of jurisdiction you sign an Esports contract under is key in determining what rights you will or won’t have. It’s easy to assume that you’ll be signing a contract that falls under your own country’s laws, but this isn’t always necessarily the case. So, it’s incredibly important to take the time to clarify this.
Contracts should always specify the jurisdiction they fall under, so if this isn’t clearly spelled out, then this should be an immediate red flag. Signing a contract that doesn’t have a choice of law will make it very difficult to challenge in the future if something does end up going sideways.
3. Compensation and Financial Earnings
Money is likely to be your primary incentive for signing an Esports contract. So, it should go without saying that you need to take a close look at the compensation you’ll receive according to the terms.
The contract should outline the basic salary amount, tournament winnings, sponsorship revenue, payment schedule, and the percentage you’ll be taking home at the end of the day. An Esports contract will also lay out whether certain expenses (such as travel) will be covered under the contract. If nothing is mentioned, you’ll have to assume that those costs will be covered by yourself.
4. Intellectual Property and Branding
Your intellectual property and image rights are extremely valuable. Many organizations who offer Esports contracts understand this, which is why many professional gamers aren’t aware that they’re signing away their image rights when they sign certain contracts.
Be wary of any Esports contracts which transfer your IP rights away, especially when terms like ‘lifetime’ or ‘exclusive’ are banded about. This might mean that the organization has the right to your IP even after the contract has finished and you’re no longer affiliated with them. Wherever possible, push to keep as much of your branding as possible whenever signing an Esports contract.
5. Precise Performance Metrics
Your Esports contract should give you a clear indication of what is expected of you in order to remain on the team’s roster. This usually comes in the form of performance metrics which will vary depending on the type of game you’re signed on for. For example, an FPS Esports contract may have a metric that requires you to maintain a certain kill/death ratio.
6. Type of Employment
Just because you’re signing a contract with an organization, doesn’t automatically mean that you’re considered to be a full-time employee. You may well be an employee according to the terms of the contract, but there’s also a chance that you’ll be classed as an independent contractor.
The type of employment you’re granted according to the terms of the contract will affect what legal rights you have. So, it’s vital that you get to grips with the basic rules and regulations for each classification.
7. Termination Clauses
As in any contract, undertaking certain actions, or exhibiting certain behaviors are likely to result in your contract being terminated. Certain termination clauses are likely to be pretty straightforward and easily avoidable. But, some may be a little more complex and difficult to avoid if you haven’t carefully read the fine print.
On that same note, Esports contracts often list buyouts that are higher than the contract value itself. Be wary of any buyouts which are difficult to buy out, as this could leave you trapped in a contract that doesn’t meet your long-term needs.
8. Holiday and Sickness Information
Any Esports contract you sign should provide clear information on the holiday you’ll be entitled to and what the procedure is if you need to take time off for sickness.
There’s always a small chance you could get caught out in this regard, as a contract may stipulate that you’re not able to take any sick leave during certain events or take holiday at specific times of the year without facing termination.
Have You Been Given a Professional Esports Contract to Sign?
So, there you have it! In this post, we’ve gone through some important tips and guidance you need to keep in mind if you’re presented with an Esports contract so you can be sure that you’re not led astray.
Is there anything else you think other professional gamers should look for when signing an Esports contract? If so, feel free to leave a comment below!
Please be advised that this article is for general informational purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for advice from a trained legal professional. Be sure to consult a lawyer/solicitor if you’re seeking advice on the law. We are not liable for risks or issues associated with using or acting upon the information on this site.