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The Rise of E-Sports as a New American Pastime

“E-sports” refers generally to video gaming set up to resemble conventional sports — they have teams and uniforms, superstars, playoffs, comebacks and upsets and rabid fans. But all the action in e-sports occurs online, and the “athletes” don’t train by lifting weights or logging miles but by “scrimming” — playing online scrimmages with friends — for eight hours a day or more, a training regimen that has been described to be “as gruelingly monotonous as any pro athlete’s.” In addition, despite the name e-sport, the games that the players and teams play are not necessarily sports games (although they can be).

This article offers an introduction to the burgeoning “e-sports” industry and some of the business and legal issues entailed therein, including those related to sponsorships, training, leagues, prize money, and college-level clubs and teams.