The Ball Is in Your Court: Do Something With It

  • March 16, 2020
  • Sabrina Bruno, lawyer at McCarthy Tétrault LLP

The low-down on the esports industry

The esports industry is growing rapidly. In 2018, the esports industry had a global fan base of 380 million people. In Canada specifically, 4.4 million Canadians followed esports last year, and more than 23 million Canadians classified themselves as “gamers” (that’s over 60 per cent of the population!). There’s no doubt – the industry is massive and it’s not slowing down any time soon. Our clients are itching to get involved in esports, but simply didn’t know how, so we decided to change that. As a member of MT>Play, I am one of the leaders of the firm’s initiatives in the esports space.

In addition to the innovation and excitement I experience daily from being involved in such a rapidly-growing, ever-changing area of the law, I have recognized the opportunity to make a difference in the industry with respect to female representation. Not surprisingly, females are significantly underrepresented in the gaming industry and have had slower adoption rates when compared to males. This can largely be attributed to the poor treatment of females, historically, in the gaming industry. But, this boy’s club mentality is changing fast and I couldn’t be more proud. For example, Xiaomeng “VKLiooon” Li made esports history when she became the first woman to be crowned an esports champion at BlizzCon for Hearthstone in late 2019. This marks a huge shift in the industry to hopefully both encourage females to participate in gaming and also show males that female gamers are not subpar. For the business-minded folks, this also presents a huge market opportunity. Presently, the vast majority of the gaming industry are males, meaning there is a significant market share that is still left to be acquired. Gaming is an entertainment industry and it’s only a matter of time before females adopt gaming at the level males are doing so currently.

If you are looking to learn more about the esports industry, there are a number of ways to get involved. McCarthy Tétrault has partnered with, a successful esports start up, to introduce the Esports Business Conference (EBC). EBC will bring together key decision-makers to discuss the business of esports and collaborate in industry challenges.