Contracts aim to provide professional players and team organisations with long-term security and outline what’s required of both parties. But what can they specifically consist of, and what else should you know about them?
An esports contract, like any employment contract, is designed to set out the player’s working conditions, duties and whatever else is required of them.
It will usually have a finite period, this could be a year or even a few months – for a specific tournament, for example.
Contracts will also usually outline other important factors such as:
- Working hours
- Salary amount
- What percentage the organisation will take from any potential tournament winnings
- Sponsorship requirements
- Company guidelines
- Holiday and sickness information
It’s worth noting that a contract technically doesn’t have to be written down – when someone accepts a job offer they are entering into a verbal contract or agreement with their employer. Of course, a written contract is to be expected at the professional level of Esports and is recommended.
However, at an amateur level, contracts – or at least professional legally binding ones with salaries – are still not the norm.
In the ESL UK Premiership, a player contract isn’t a requirement to take part. However, a player having a contract or agreement with two or more ESL UK Premiership teams is forbidden, and the player may ban said player or teams.
Always read through a contract thoroughly before signing it. If possible, seek advice from a legal professional first, and perhaps think about asking a trusted friend or family member to read through it with you. If the contract doesn’t include a salary, or is vague regarding payment, think carefully before signing.
Contracts can cost organisations thousands of pounds to produce. There are many legal companies out there that can produce specific contracts for a fee, such as Sheridans and Purewal & Partners for example.
Game focus: League of Legends pro contracts
Within some Esports games, there are specific rules around contracts. For example, Riot Games currently has a three-year cap on contracts for players participating in the League of Legends Championship Series (LCS), because it says that “long-term contracts are open to abuse when teams have no responsibility to pay [players] or keep them on the active roster.”
Riot also ensures that players are not tied to a non-compete clause. “Restricting players from joining another team once their contract expires is simply unfair and risks the player missing out on key months (or even years) of their career,” Riot said in a statement.
The developer also allows players to terminate their contract if their team has broken the rules. This is to avoid possible situations where a team is removed from the LCS but attempts to block its players from joining other teams.