Video gaming has come a long way since Pac-Man and Donkey Kong. Back then, the term “gaming” didn’t exist outside of computer labs and e-sports wasn’t a category of sports. Fast-forward to today, when e-sports is a multimillion-dollar industry with collegiate and professional teams and leagues, corporate sponsorships and competitions and events with tens and sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars in prize money. With the industry poised for even more mind-boggling growth, it was really only a matter of time before the virtual juggernaut hits the big leagues – the live sports big leagues, that is.
This article addresses the National Basketball Association’s partnership with Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. to sponsor an e-sports league, the first among U.S. professional sports’ Big Four to enter into such a deal, as well as the legal issues that may arise as more teams and leagues follow suit.