Whether you’re an esports player, franchise owner, esports lounge, a tournament organizer or an influencer, getting a sponsorship offer is exciting and opens up financial and other opportunities. However, although it might be tempting just to accept any offers, it’s essential that you work with an experienced esports lawyer like those at KJK.
We offer esports sponsorship management, meaning we can help you navigate the world of esports sponsorships and ensure that every agreement you sign is to your benefit. Whether you are new to professional esports or are a veteran who has just received a high-profile sponsorship offer, the legal team at KJK can help you negotiate the best possible agreement.
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What Kinds of Sponsors Do We Work With?
At KJK, we have experience working as matchmakers with a wide variety of sponsors, venture capital investors and private equity investors, and have connections with endemic sponsors, or those within the esports industry, and non-endemic sponsors, or companies without a previous link with the industry. Whether you’re approached by a large tech company like Google or a smaller non-endemic start-up interested in esports, we can help you negotiate the best deal possible.
Recently, non-tech endemic companies have also offered sponsorship opportunities to high-level esports players and teams, including companies like Audi and Visa. Because of our extensive legal background in a variety of areas, KJK can offer advice to players approached by both endemic and non-endemic sponsorship companies, and to all sponsors interested in entering the esports world.
At KJK, we work with individual esports athletes and teams, franchise owners, esport event venue owners and influencers, ensuring that your esports sponsorship contract is beneficial for you.
KJK also offers its skilled advice to corporate and private sponsors interested in working with an esports player, team or tournament. Sponsors should ensure that their money is guarded, including having a clear contract termination method if the player leaves a specific team or has a significant losing streak, and that their contract clearly states the player’s social media obligations.
What Kinds of Sponsorships Can KJK Negotiate for You?
While many sponsorships have a basis in monetary compensation, KJK can also negotiate a product sponsorship, tournament sponsorships and franchise sponsorships. We can also act as matchmakers between sponsors and players, venues, tournaments and organizations.
Consequences of Poorly Constructed Sponsorship Contracts
Having a poorly constructed sponsorship contract can negatively affect both the player and the sponsor. Trying to negotiate a contract on your own without legal advice from KJK can result in a player losing money and the rights to your intellectual property. With the 2019 revenue of esports coming to $950.3 million worldwide, high-level players could lose out on significant funds with a poorly constructed contract.
Working with an experienced KJK esports lawyer can also help sponsors avoid poorly constructed contracts, which could cost them significant amounts of money or result in legal action if the clauses infringe on the player’s rights.
At KJK, our team offers advice on contracts and career management, as well as e-business development to ensure that you continue to grow your brand and transform your passion into a solid business plan. We also advise sponsors new to the world of esports, connecting them with players, venues and tournaments in need of sponsorship.
Our experienced esports team, led by attorneys Scott Norcross and Paige Rabatin, can help ensure all esports professionals know their worth and don’t agree to a too-high or too-low offer.
Our Goal is your Success:
How KJK Can Help When Signing an Agreement
There are several important details to consider during esports sponsorship negotiations, whether you are a sponsor, content creator or player. Players should ensure they focus on payment, non-financial obligations, who owns the intellectual property and termination, while sponsors must ensure they protect their investment and brand. At KJK, we can advise both sponsors and players on every aspect of your contract.
Payments for Players
Many sponsorship agreements include a core salary, with bonuses for successful tournaments or setting a record. Ensuring that you have a core salary with agreed-upon payment deadlines is essential when negotiating a contract. Committing to a sponsor without a core salary means you could end up with little-to-no compensation if you don’t win a tournament.
Acting as your management, KJK can ensure that any bonuses included in your contract are reasonable and attainable. Standard bonuses in an esports contract include:
- Achieving a new rank
- Progressing through an elimination round in a tournament
- Qualifying for a league
Many contracts include bonuses for tournaments and an agreement about the distribution of the winnings. Tournament wins often garner significant media attention for both the players and the sponsors, so having an incentive to enter and win tournaments is beneficial to both parties.
However, not all sponsorships include a base salary and are limited to a single tournament or another specific time period. For these cases, you may not have a core salary, and instead must negotiate bonuses.
Payments for Sponsors
As the person or company providing the money or product, you want to ensure you protect your investment. KJK can help you create appropriate terms for your contracts, including determining how many tournaments per year the player should enter and how much bonuses will be.
Non-Financial Obligations for Players
Besides monetary compensation for the player, there are often other duties included in esports sponsorship agreements. These may include appearing in commercials, promoting your sponsor’s products on social media or during Twitch streams, and maintaining a social media following. At KJK, we also offer our advanced knowledge and experience in digital marketing, event promotion and creating and establishing your personal player brand.
Before signing an esports sponsorship contract, check with an esports attorney about the non-financial agreement’s specifics. Ensure the agreement includes details like how many tweets a week you must send and the number of streams per month. These must be clearly stated since language like “posting as needed” could result in unrealistic expectations from the sponsor.
Esports players should ask a lawyers about any exclusivity clauses. If you cannot stream on Twitch or YouTube independently, that constitutes a loss of income on your part. It’s essential that you receive additional compensation from your sponsor in exchange for exclusivity.
If your contract includes exclusivity language, KJK still makes it a priority to ensure that you keep ownership and access to your social media accounts.
Non-Financial Obligations for Sponsors
KJK can help you create a contract that ensures you get the most out of your investment. Both endemic and non-endemic sponsors can benefit from having their players, tournaments, teams or venues promote their company on their social media.
Our experienced team can help you determine the optimal number of posts, and include language in the contract that ensures the sponsored person doesn’t harm your brand’s image with explicit language or inappropriate posts.
Intellectual Property for Players
Who owns a player’s stream, or their intellectual property, is an essential part of any esports sponsorship agreement, for both sponsors and players. With our extensive IP law experience, KJK can ensure that your contract protects your interests. For players, signing over the rights to your personal trademark, past or future streams, and ownerships of your gaming accounts could prove financially devastating in the future.
Intellectual Property for Sponsors
While many aspects of sponsoring esports players are similar to other industries, intellectual property ownership is unique to esports. KJK can help sponsors understand how IP works in the esport world and craft a contract that protects you and your brand, and ensures your investment pays off.
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Contact KJK Today
Whether you’re a rising esports player, the manager of an esports team franchise or a company interested in sponsoring someone in the esports world, KJK can help you. Besides ensuring that your contracts are airtight and beneficial to you now and in the future, we can also help players build their social media presence and create a lucrative business.
For sponsors, we offer contractual advice and detailed information about how intellectual property works in esports. If you have never entered into a sponsorship deal with an esports player, we also offer advice about how to approach players, where to find them, and what esports are on the rise.
For teams and individual players interested in organizing or promoting an esports event, our team is happy to help in any way we can, whether that’s actively managing your event or providing organizational advice as you prepare.
KJK is here for all your esports management needs. Call us today at to learn more about how we can help you manage your esports opportunities.