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Sports, Gaming and eSports

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CMS is a pioneer in providing legal advice and support for all those involved in the world of sports, gaming and e-sports. The success of CMS in the field of gaming and e-sports is based not least on our many years of providing legal advice on sports law and our in-depth industry knowledge. 

CMS advice: pioneers in the sports, gaming and e-sports field

Our team in the CMS Sports sector group is one of the most innovative teams and one of the pioneers in this field. This has been confirmed several times, for instance back in 2017:

„STANDOUT - The firm acted for ESL, the world’s largest company specialising in competitive video games, to set up a global governing body, the World Esports Association. Lawyers created the first legal structure, commercial rights, arbitration court and code of conduct for an organisation of this type in the fast-growing market.”
Innovative Lawyers 2017

With 35 lawyers, our CMS Sports sector group is one of the largest practice groups in Germany. We pursue an interdisciplinary approach and bring together sector-specific expertise to create legally practicable solutions, for example from copyright, association, tax, competition, media, unfair competition, contract, corporate and labour law.

We can offer support on the following topics in particular, which are often related in terms of content:

  • Sports personalities and agents
    • Term options and exclusivity clauses
    • Remuneration provisions
    • Exploitation of marketing rights
    • Agency remuneration regulations and employment services in accordance with SGB III (German Social Welfare Code, Volume 3)
    • Morality and terminability of contracts, in particular "adhesion contracts"
  • Financing and structuring
  • Transactions and corporate law issues
  • Sports rights marketing
    • All types of sports broadcasting contract, for example TV and radio licensing rights, sports broadcasting 
    • Centralised marketing of sporting events by associations
    • Competition law review of central marketing, also by appearing before the European Commission
    • Advertising and sponsoring, such as equipment and sponsorship contracts
    • Ticketing, merchandising, perimeter advertising, web presence
    • Introduction of new sport-related TV formats and platforms
    • Advising on major sporting events, contracts for sporting events
  • Comprehensive contract design in all areas of sport and e-sports, e.g.
    • Sport sponsoring
    • League foundation
    • Development of gaming and platform products, including setting up appropriate cloud solutions
    • Implementing e-sports events, including agreements with game publishers, organisers, e-sports teams, sponsors and media partners
  • Regulatory requirements, e.g. platform regulation, youth protection and broadcasting law
  • Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) in sports
  • Requirements under consumer protection legislation and monetisation options, e.g. NFTs, in-game advertising and in-game sales
  • Advising rights holders on protecting intellectual property rights and copyright as well as on all media law issues
  • General terms & conditions, terms of use and privacy and cookie statements, e.g. for competitive gaming products
  • Countering liability claims and handling court litigation and arbitration proceedings

Highlights of our legal advice

Our highlight instructions include the full range of advisory services for the World Esports Association (WESA), ongoing legal advice for the world’s largest organiser of e-sports events (ESL Gaming) and many years of advising various national and international computer games providers as well as the legal support for the establishment of the first global league for e-sports. In addition, CMS advises the German Football League (DFL) on gaming and also one of the largest e-sports TV networks. We have helped FC Schalke 04 Esports GmbH to sell their slot in the League of Legends European Championship.

We regularly advise associations such as the German Football League (DFL), the German basketball league and UEFA as well as various clubs, e.g. 1. FC Köln, RB Leipzig and SV Werder Bremen, on a whole range of sports-related activities. We also advise sports rights marketers on all aspects of law, and support national and international companies in connection with sponsorship and other forms of involvement in the sports sector. Our clients also include stadium operators, sports consulting companies, sports managers and top athletes.

Please contact us.

„Wenn es um eSport geht, ist CMS die Nummer 1 auf dem Markt; kein anderer Wett-bewerber hat so viel Wissen über eSport wie CMS; die Praxis hat ihre Erfahrungen im traditionellen Sport und in den digitalen Medien ausgerichtet, um einzigartige neue Modelle für den eSport zu entwickeln; langjährige Erfahrung.“

The Legal 500 Deutschland, 2022

„Die Kanzlei tritt wie kaum eine andere durch ihr tiefes Know-how u. ihre strateg. Aufstellung als Digitalisierungsberaterin hervor. Insbes. gr. Digitalplattformen setzen auf die medien- u. urheberrechtl. Kenntnisse, die durch eine praxisgruppenübergreifende, auf digitale Regulierungsthemen spezialisierte Einheit mit Wissen aus dem Kartell-, IT- oder Gesellschaftsrecht angereichert werden. CMS ist seit jeher vorne dabei, wenn neue Geschäftsmodelle den Markt erobern, so auch im E-Sports-Sektor, wo sie die ESL für die neuheitl. Konzeption digit. Items im Bereich Blockchain/NFTs beriet.“

JUVE Handbuch, 2021/2022

„Hervorzuheben sind zudem die Erfahrungen im traditionellen Sportrecht und den di-gitalen Medien, die dem Team ermöglichen, ‘einzigartige neue Modelle für den E-Sport zu entwickeln.“

The Legal 500 Deutschland, 2022
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