Dark arena full of people watching e-sports

Esports & Gaming

  • Overview
  • Who To Contact
  • Recent Developments

Esports is an industry sitting at the intersection of sport, media, entertainment, technology and creative content. Its reach and rate of development is unparalleled, and it continues to present significant business opportunities in new and unpredictable ways. Such complexity and rapid evolution creates business and legal challenges for participants, who require advisors who can balance boldness and innovation with a measured understanding of the disparate elements that may come into play. To meet this need, Aird & Berlis provides its clients with a multi-disciplinary team of professionals familiar with the esports ecosystem and driven to provide creative, authentic, cost-effective legal solutions that foster successful client business outcomes.

Aird & Berlis is fully committed to esports. We act on local, regional, national and international matters for professional gamers, teams, leagues, gaming organizations, investors and financing parties, underwriters and sponsors, governments and regulatory agencies, hardware and software companies, entertainment, promotion and advertising companies, media and broadcasters and others. We appreciate the many connections that esports have with other areas of industry, including publishing, gambling, hospitality, event production, finance and entertainment.

Our lawyers can guide you through every stage of your business life-cycle. We work with individuals and entities in the start-up phase, helping develop cost-effective, realistic and highly protective organizational, operating and relationship models that anticipate more complex situations in the future. We work with established parties that have settled brands, products, services or businesses seeking to scale into more significant growth. We aid mature clients seeking to acclimatize to the industry or seeking entry to or exit from it.

We provide ongoing corporate and personal counsel and representation on strategic, competition, employment and policy development matters. We provide advice on all manner of contracts and arrangements, including technology, licensing, distribution, supply, franchise, partnering and service arrangements, as well as sponsorships, branding, marketing and advertising.

Our knowledge and experience in corporate/commercial, capital markets, privacy and data security, mergers and acquisitions, banking, lending, venture finance, tax, marketing and advertising, intellectual property, litigation, employment and real estate allows us to provide the full breadth of legal services that any esports company could require.

Aird & Berlis has extensive capital markets expertise. We help clients take their business to the next level by assisting with financing and go-public transactions, including initial public offerings, reverse takeovers and qualifying transactions, as well as resulting listings on the TSX, TSXV and CSE. In addition, we have substantial cross-border transaction and structuring experience in both established and emerging markets. 

Our lawyers, many of whom are gamers themselves, are active in the esports sector beyond simply providing legal services. They frequently write and speak on a variety of esports-related matters, with recent topics of note including the opportunities available within the Canadian marketplace, integrity issues and the relevance of esports to the gambling sector. They work with policy makers and legislators to formulate policies that will ensure the open and beneficial growth of an industry that continues to have unlocked potential. In short, we are fully invested in promoting the success of esports in every way.

Our representative esports experience includes the following matters:

  • Represented a leading technology company and games publisher, in its original launch of its games portfolio in Canada
  • Corporate counsel to the publisher of one of the world’s most popular first-person shooter titles
  • Corporate and regulatory advisor to an esports specialty hardware manufacturer
  • Represented a leading sports and esports gambling business, in government procurement processes and corporate and regulatory matters
  • Advised on the acquisition of one of the leading fantasy esports providers, including on the relevant Canadian regulatory and compliance context
  • Advised a leading sports and esports gambling business on regulatory processes and licensing/registration matters
  • Consulted to a Canadian provincial industry regulatory agency in regards to the potential regulation of the industry
  • Advised a variety of entertainment, gambling and hospitality operators on the adoption of esports into their business operations
  • Advised a syndicate of underwriters of a major payment processor, in relation to Canadian legal risks associated with online products and services, including gaming/gambling
  • Assisted a Canadian-based gaming and esports company with operations in North America and Europe in contemplation of a securities offering