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The esports industry’s growth spurt is showing no signs of slowing down, according to Top 100 UK Law Firm, Fladgate.

Whilst the outside world of sports came to a standstill earlier in the year, with many stadiums around the world remaining empty, the online platforms have seen a huge increase in demand.

Four in ten gamers are playing more than the previous year[i], and many traditional sports teams are signing players to represent them in online games.

The esports market is thought to be worth over $950 million worldwide with an expected rise to over $1.6 billion by 2023[ii], showing a huge opportunity for investment. This growth is thought to be, in part, due to the Covid-19 pandemic as socialisation switched to online platforms and traditional sports teams ceased playing.

James Earl, Partner and Head of the Sports Business Group at Fladgate commented “We expect the esports industry to grow over the next few years, and Covid-19 has certainly played a part in speeding up the demand. We are keen to support continued growth in this sector and are delighted to launch the Sports and Esports Legal Clinic to support players, athletes, teams and businesses in sports or esports with legal queries or concerns.”

The Covid market may be helping esports grow, but the conditions don’t negate the legal risks. IP streaming and content issues, contracts, licensing, cyber security and employment matters are some of the many legal concerns faced by players. This is where Fladgate’s free sports & esports clinic can help.

Teams such as Manchester City and PSG have already invested in esports, along with the likes of Gareth Bale, and David Beckham. Beckham’s involvement in London-based Guild Esports made headlines earlier this year as the organisation listed on the London Stock Exchange- the first esports franchise to do so. It is thought this trend is only going to continue as esports is embraced by a more mainstream audience.

Whilst the demand for esports grows, the cost of game development and the organising and running of esports events are the main obstacles of the moment. That being said, this leaves huge opportunity for capital investors to get involved in aspects such as branding, content and the tournaments themselves, to explore this rapidly growing market.

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