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Global league for esports established: CMS advises Electronic Sports League on development of new regulations and models


Cologne – Following two years of negotiations, the Louvre Agreement has now established the first global league between signatories Electronic Sports League (ESL) and the twelve leading international esports teams for Counter Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO). With an average of 80 million hours of viewing per season in 2020, the CS:GO ProLeague is one of the world’s most watched leagues in CS:GO, ranking second in international esports.

A CMS team headed by lead partner Dr Pietro Graf Fringuelli advised ESL on all legal aspects of establishing the global league.

A team led by Dr Andreas Peschel-Mehner and Moritz Mehner from law firm SKW Schwarz advised the founder teams.

With the key points having already been defined at the beginning of 2020, the constitutions, rules of the game and agreements required for a global league of this nature have now been drafted at all levels and in the necessary detail, and agreed between the 13 parties. The constitution for implementing this global league is only partially modelled on the existing set-up in conventional sport. Most of the regulations and decision-making structures have been specially developed to meet the requirements of this new market. They include transfer rules, compliance, arbitration rules and governance, together with new models for sharing revenue from media and sponsorship rights.

The teams taking part include Faze, NaVi, Fnatic, NiP, Liquid, EG, Vitality, Mouz, G2, Complexity, ENCE and Astralis. ESL has been developed into the world’s biggest esports company since 2000. It organises international leagues and tournaments such as ESL One, Intel® Extreme Masters, ESL Pro League and ESL National Championships. ESL is owned by Swedish media company Modern Times Group.

“This set of rules is the first time a legal framework has been developed in esports that provides companies with a sustainable foundation for taking esports forward,” said Dr Pietro Graf Fringuelli, who took the lead role in representing ESL.

CMS Germany

Dr Pietro Graf Fringuelli, Lead Partner, Cologne, Media Law
Dr Malte Bruhns, Partner, Cologne, Corporate
Kai Neuhaus, Partner, Brussels, Competition
Thomas Gerdel, Partner, Düsseldorf, Tax
Dr Benjamin Lissner, Partner, Cologne, Dispute Resolution
Dr Thomas Sonnenberg, Partner, Cologne, Compliance
Thorsten Hemme, Principal Counsel, Cologne
Dr Patrick Ehinger, Senior Associate, Cologne
Martin-Lukas Landmann, Senior Associate, Cologne, all Media Law

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