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Tuesday, 26 June 2018 15:44

New trends in "e-Sports"

The e-sports or electronic sports have a very high potential for economic development and transformation of society. No one doubts that these videogame competitions are here to stay.

However, as with other innovative industries, regulation always seems to be behind schedule in relation to its development and its advances. But this does not mean that the participants of these competitions, who mobilize large sums of money, do not have legal obligations.


The main characteristic of e-sports and what makes them so successful is the absence of physical and temporary barriers. This is true for both competitors and consumers, that is, the audience.

As of 2003, when ESL TV and other streaming platforms such as Twitch were launched in 2011, there was a big change in e-sports. Until then, it was only played, but from then on it is also possible to watch the game, in person and mainly online. And this universal audience without borders of countries or schedules, is undoubtedly the one that has given this industry an unthinkable success.


The main e-sports platform, ESL, has more than 2,600 million players around the world. And the last Intel Extreme Masters competition (IEM) had 173,000 spectators in Katowice, a city in Poland of just 350,000. At that event, prizes of one million dollars were distributed.

In 2016, 400 events of this type were held around the world. And the figure collected by ticket sales was around 32 million dollars, 50% more than in 2015. Another important fact is that of the prizes: in the mentioned year 2016 prizes were distributed for a value higher than 93 million of dollars.


Although the reality of the sector in Spain is more modest, the lack of specific legislation that regulates this industry generates insecurity and instability. There are several ways to set up an e-sports club. However, the most common is to do so as a limited company, which gives it its own legal personality.

As for the hiring, the legal relationship of the gamers with the teams also generates many doubts. In the absence of a classic employment contract, the usual thing is to make at least one commercial contract. This contract establishes the transfer of rights to the image of the players, as well as the amount they will receive.

Taxes are also a question. The clubs are obliged to pay corporate tax, VAT, IRPF withholdings and Social Security expenses.

The players, if they are self-employed, must pay monthly the autonomous fee and declare the income obtained in the form of prizes in the IRPF. In the case of streaming earnings, it will be necessary to analyze each specific case to be able to enter the tax system.

As we see, e-sports are a global trend with unstoppable growth and little regulation. However, if you want to create a club or become a gamer, you must take into account all these legal considerations.

Writings SF Lawyers