Computer Gamers at Table

Popularity of Esports Brings Liabilities

Park and recreation districts are quickly becoming a hub for esports.

Electronic sports sounds just like what it is—sports that are played electronically. There are many qualities that are shared among traditional sports and esports. For example, esports players play in tournaments against one another, fans often watch these games either online or in-person at live tournaments, and viewership of esports games are increasing as technology becomes more important in our new generations.

Although there are many similarities, esports are very different from traditional sports.  Many esports games are not always games that one might think of as typical, such as football, basketball, and baseball. Instead, esports games include team-oriented multiplayer online battle arenas (MOBAs), virtual versions of physical sports, single players who play in first person, and battle royales.

Recently, esports have become such a craze that parks and recreation districts have esport tournament spaces available for players. Many districts have picked up esports because of how fast the industry is growing. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, esports gained a lot of popularity very quickly, leading many companies to invest in this new technology. However, this quick, initial interest means that potential risk and liabilities may be overlooked.

Opportunity and Risk

Although it seems like a great idea to hop on the trend of esports and become a host for esports tournaments, districts should consider the risks involved. Any activity that is physically demanding could result in harm, regardless of how minor or major.

If a professional esports player spends a lot of their time practicing and playing in tournaments, this could mean they spend hours and hours multiple times a week using their hands and fingers. After a while, these motions can cause severe pain. Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common injury that occurs when people are on computers often or in this instance, when they are using a controller for long periods of time.

Not only can wrists and fingers be affected by using a controller for long hours of gaming, but the effects on posture also come into play. Holding your neck and back in a certain position for a long period of time can be painful, especially if it is not a correct placement for your back. It is critical for an esports gamer to have a chair that is ergonomic and will offer support and not cause injuries to the neck and back.

Esports and Liabilities

As we mentioned earlier, a major risk concerning the growth and popularity of esports is injuries. If a player gets injured or worse, legal action could be taken. As more and more corporations and fans pour money into these events or tournaments, more legal issues and questions pop up. Are players being over worked? If players receive gifts, is that considered illegal as it is in traditional sports? If players receive any sort of compensation, is that illegal? With so many new contingencies arising in the emerging era of esports, be sure to contact your general counsel with questions regarding your liabilities if you have or are looking to have esports included at your district.

Another area of concern—as is the case with any technology—is cyber liability. Many business entities are dealing with cyber issues, the most prevalent and damaging of which are cyberattacks. Although these attacks do not happen every day to a business entity, the damage from a cyberattack can ruin a reputation or put customers at risk. Since these incidents can happen to anyone, having a plan to fall back on is important. Visit our eRisk Hub, a free resource to members, to learn more about what to do in the event that your district is victim to a cyberattack. This resource includes a recovery roadmap, expert advice, and access to breach coaches and trained lawyers.

Another area of risk often overlooked in the world of esports is cheating. As players constantly face pressure to win, they are more willing to find ways to cheat. This is where the issue of illegal cheat codes comes into play. A player that is caught will automatically lose the game as well as incur financial losses.

Another area of risk is gambling. In sports, gambling is huge among fans, and the same goes for esports. If illegal gambling occurs, business entities can damage their reputation and see legal consequences. Tournaments can also be cause liability issues as thousands of people can be attending, especially when a single cyberattack through servers or DDoS can cause the game to be lost.

Strategy Guide for Risk

It’s important to understand risks that are involved in esports. A true risk management strategy would help reduce these risks and hazards. It’s always a good idea to take precautions and plan for incidents like these. Having staff members be aware of and plan for these events may help reduce these occurrences. Any dangers that are pointed out, must be eliminated or mitigated.

Trainings and rules are important to regard when planning esports events. All employees and participants must cooperate, and this can always be addressed by waivers or forms. As long as a risk management strategy is in place for esports events, you can safely provide services for esports players.

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