New eSports Arbitration Court Sets Judicial Precedent For Industry

As eSports continues to thrive as a budding new competitive industry, players and teams increasingly face new challenges outside of the game. Oftentimes these conflicts are still handled at the grassroots level. Contractual issues are often resolved by publishers (who shouldn’t have to rule in these cases) or between the two parties involved (which still leaves open the possibility of being taken advantage of). Payouts to players are often hedged between tournament organizers and fan donations. The infrastructure of eSports is young and fluid, with definitive ways of business still very much desired.

However, the World eSports Organization (WESA) is looking to change that by taking this ruling authority out of the hands of the constituents involved. With the institution of a new independent arbitration court, anyone from players to tournament officials can bring their gripes to an unaffiliated judge to receive fair resolutions to their issues.

WESA’s executive chairman and commissioner Ken Hershman comments that the need to “professionalize” eSports was a driving force for creating the court. Additionally, Hershman claims that one of the focuses of the new court will include remaining affordable for parties utilizing its arbitration. Additionally, constituents will be allowed to present any case that involves the legal bearings of the eSports industry without a traditionally arduous and long court process. The ESL formed WESA as a way to ensure that players were being given proper amenities for their work. Yet the organization reaches beyond the players to legislate bylines by which eSports is governed.

This court is akin to Major League Baseball’s arbitration court set up to offer fair terms for contracts where both parties can’t seek an agreed-on value. It remains to be seen how this will affect the eSports scene. Considering that eSports roster turnover rate is much higher than professional sports and that eSports encompasses a wide variety of leagues and organizations, we will find out how well suited WESA is to handle a large influx of cases. If the court gains authority in the scene, they can set precedents that could shape the eSports landscape for years to come.

For more information, including contact details, make sure to visit the WESA website.