105 Iowa L. Rev. 1857 (2020)
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Esports is a rising industry that has seen rapid growth in recent years. With an explosion in investment and revenue, competitive leagues have begun to form for most popular esports with lucrative winnings. However, not all players win big, and the existing systems in place for players are often inadequate to protect them from unfair labor practices. This Note examines the current competitive esports landscape and compares it to traditional sports leagues to show that esports players’ unions are an attractive option for players to eliminate harsh working conditions and gain a seat at the bargaining table. Examples from the history of traditional players associations show that although there are legal and market constraints on the formation of esports players’ unions, eventually, collective bargaining will be a reality in the industry. This Note first highlights relevant labor law issues and antitrust realities of traditional sports. This Note then explores what current esports players endure and how the industry impacts efforts at forming a union. Next, this Note considers the shape and form an esports players’ union might take. Finally, this Note argues that a players’ union modeled after traditional sports players associations is the best means for players to better their condition, despite antitrust suits and governance structures being available as interim solutions as well.

Friday, May 15, 2020