Governing esports: public policy, regulation and the law

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Esport is an enigma – at once a sport; technological innovation; and profit maximizing business. As a sport, it has much in common with traditional sports. It has leagues and franchises, teams and skilled players, competitions, sponsors, broadcasters and, at the elite level, significant prize money and all the risks that come with it. As a technological innovation, it has created new markets and value networks outside the control of sports’ traditional hegemony. And while many sports today generate significant revenues, esports differ because of the primacy of its profit motive. Unlike traditional sports, it does not see itself as the custodian of artefacts of great socio-cultural importance. This gives rise to a plethora of governance, policy, regulatory and legal issues. This article examines these issues through the lens of regulatory scholarship. Regulatory scholarship provides a valuable framework for examining why governments regulate in the form in which they regulate. Regulatory theory looks behind governments’ stated public interest purposes to examine the impact private interests, institutional parameters, and ideational currents have on the regulatory endeavour. Regulatory scholarship enables us to look beyond traditional doctrinal law to debate the many complex issues and multiple perspectives inherent in the phenomena that is esports.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages37
JournalSports Law E-Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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