Springboards and Hurdles for the eSports Industry in 2017

Written by Frank Kremer

The Golden Age for video games is now and the eSports industry grows at a fast pace, setting new milestones every year. 2016 was better than 2015 and this year has the potential of outshining its predecessor in every imaginable way. League of Legends, Dota 2, Counter Strike Global Offensive and many more video games draw huge crowds. Their competitions offer tens of millions of dollars in guaranteed prizes and bookmakers are covering these events. The number of markets, the quality of the odds and live betting options are comparable to traditional sports, as can be seen here.

More eSports Scholarship and Sponsorship Deals

A couple of years ago, the very idea of an esports scholarship sounded far-fetched. Canadian students however have a good reason to be enthusiastic about what the future will bring. In the second half of 2018, the University of Toronto will offer the first esports scholarship nationwide. This is already a big thing in the United States and the fact that their northern neighbors are following suit is reassuring.

Elsewhere, businesspeople and entrepreneurs are regarding the esports industry as a great investment. There are different ways in which people of means can invest and all of them are propelling the industry forward. Some prefer to sponsor a team or professional player, in exchange of having the brand displayed during major tournaments. Others go a step further and invest millions of dollars to start their very own esports leagues, which attract the best players worldwide.

The Specter of Taxation Is Looming Large

All this commotion surrounding eSports is starting to draw unwanted attention from states and taxation authorities. Professional athletes are subject to the so-called Jock Taxes in many states, but for the time being electronic sports are exempt. Players are largely unaware of all the tax implications and are likely to be caught off guard when they will have to pay up. Aggressive enforcement is just part of the problem, as the biggest concern is the absence of clear rules to regulate the industry.

Professional players make a decent amount of money every year from salaries, but they represent just a part of their income. Most of the money comes from sponsorship deals and tournament winnings, which are likely to be subject to taxation. These players have plenty on their minds right now, to worry about the changes and the obstacles that taxes might bring in their lives. However, it’s not all fun and games in the eSports industry and not all changes are for the better.


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Frank Kremer

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