Brooklyn Journal of International Law


Andrew Ramstad

First Page



Despite humble beginnings, the advent of the modern internet has seen the explosion of e-sports into an industry commanding hundreds of millions of annual viewers and nearly a billion dollars in annual advertising revenue. Facilitating this expansion has been a shift from independently run competitive e-sports leagues to leagues created and operated by the developers of the league’s underlying game. This vertical integration by developers increases e-sports accessibility to viewers, but at the cost of decreased player bargaining power and professional flexibility. The integration further incentivizes ever-increasing working hours and self-destructive or rule-breaking behavior by players to stay competitive. This Note first examines the current e-sports regulatory apparatus of several nations and Non-Governmental Organizations, before contrasting them against the potential application of the International Labor Organization’s standards for association and collective bargaining with respect to protecting player working conditions. Accordingly, this Note argues that an e-sports regulatory scheme rooted in the International Labor Organization’s Core Conventions will more effectively protect the labor rights of players and downstream actors, as opposed to a completely centralized governing body or a regulatory scheme rooted entirely in antitrust law.