His work ranges from drafting player contracts or endorsement deals to advising major sports teams and owners, brands and investors.
What do you do? I’m the founding partner of ESG Law and the executive vice president of esports at Catalyst Sports & Media, which makes me both an esports attorney and consultant. Esports is the umbrella term for the competitive video game industry — think sports, but with people playing video games instead of basketball.
Even though a lot of people have never heard of the industry, we’re already selling out stadiums (including KeyArena and the Staples Center), garnering endorsements from the likes of Geico and Coca-Cola, and top players are making seven-figure incomes. My work ranges from drafting player contracts or endorsement deals to advising major sports teams and owners, brands and investors on how to successfully enter and navigate the space.
How did you first merge esports and law? I like to say I fell into it and then I ran with it. I started practicing law at Foster Pepper in Seattle, where I drafted a white paper forecasting the legal future of esports vis á vis the legal history of traditional sports. That white paper was the first piece of legal scholarship surrounding the industry; it went viral and before I knew it, various teams, players and businesses were getting in touch with me to help out with their legal needs.
What’s a typical day like? Because I have two full-time jobs, it really depends on the day. I wake up early every day (around 6:30 a.m.) and clear my inbox. From there, my work ranges wildly from drafting and negotiating contracts to advising clients on their investments or businesses. Either way, I tend to spend a lot of time on the phone or in meetings.
What’s the best part of the job? We’re building this airplane while it’s in the air, which means that every day my work helps establish the infrastructure on which we’ll build the next 50 years of growth. It also means that we’re not stuck following industry norms that were established without our input; we get to discuss key issues among various stakeholders and develop the norms ourselves.
What surprises people about what you do? That it exists. Despite the incredible growth of the industry, it is still largely off the radar of people who haven’t interacted with it directly in some way. That will change soon though. My generation grew up playing video games and consuming content online, which means the esports industry is where the ball is going. I don’t know what the most popular game will be in 2050, but whatever it is will be as ubiquitous as global soccer.