The econtractor? Defining the esports employment relationship

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Esports is now a multibillion-dollar industry that has quickly become one of the most discussed segments of the entertainment industry. There has been a rush to mention esports alongside other more traditional sports like baseball, basketball, football, and hockey, but the comparison may not be apt. Esports leagues are fundamentally different from traditional sports leagues because the competitive games that make up esports are the intellectual property of the game makers. This unique structure results in individualized relationships between the game makers, esports producers, the teams, and the competitors. This article is among the first to examine the legal status of esports competitors. In doing so, we discuss the employment conditions within esports that make them unique. The industry is poised to face significant labor-related challenges in the near future, so the article also analyzes the labor issues esports competitors and leagues face, and the importance for stakeholders to pay attention to the legal status and working conditions of the competitors.




Holden, J. T., & Baker, T. A. (2019). The econtractor? Defining the esports employment relationship. American Business Law Journal, 56(2), 391–440.

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