Esports and Gaming

The stakes of the first known video game competition, Spacewar in 1972, were pretty low — the winner walked away with a subscription to Rolling Stone magazine. Nearly 50 years later, esports is a $1 billion global business, hosting events that draw thousands of live spectators and hundreds of millions across streaming platforms.

Esports now rival even the most popular “real world” athletic contests.

With growth comes changing needs for and approaches to risk management. Just as top esports athletes prioritize strategy in competitive gaming, successful esports organizations should adopt a strategic approach to risk management.

Esports risk professionals face many of the challenges as their peers in other industries, from protecting venues from physical damage to protecting brand and reputations. And they also have unique concerns, such as the potential damage a cyberattack could bring to their technology-heavy platforms and protecting players’ health.

Marsh's team of esports and gaming risk specialists understands the industry and its risks. Backed by Marsh’s global insurance coverage placement and risk consulting teams, we can advise you on how to navigate and manage your increasingly complex ecosystem.

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FAQ's

As with any sporting or entertainment event that draws a sizable audience, esports events are subject to numerous risks including bodily injury to spectators, property damage, active shooters, terrorism, and cyber hacking. Cyber hacking and ransomware are generally the most significant event risks for esports, as an attack can affect the integrity of a game and the broadcast/streaming signal. Large events typically bring greater exposure. If you are an organizer of one of these mega-events, undertaking strategic risk assessments should be an integral part of your overall planning effort.

With multimillion-dollar prizes at major championships and mega-events, the stakes are high for esports athletes and their sponsors. Like their counterparts in other sports, esports athletes face potential health issues, including:

  • Muscular disorders
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Tendinitis
  • Neck and lower back pain
  • Vision impairment, known as blue light syndrome
  • Sleep pattern disruption, or insomnia
  • Lung collapse
  • Drug use
  • Burnout

Like any industry, esports is challenged by risks that could impact the core business, including:

  • Brand and reputation damage: Esports brands typically develop partnerships and sponsorships in order to increase brand value. The speed and interconnectivity of social media means that negative publicity can travel quickly if participating athletes or other stakeholders engage in actions seen as untoward. Such scenarios may result in the loss of sponsors or of tournament licenses, resulting in a potentially significant reduction in brand value.
  • Esports governance: Developing governance and best practice standards can benefit the esports industry as a whole. As a relatively new industry, external strategic consulting expertise can help empower new governance entities, such as global and regional esports federations, to assist with this objective.
  • Protecting youth at esports academies: Whether through esports or other activities, residential or prolonged stays of children/teenagers within facilities have seen numerous claims of harassment and abuse by adult supervisors. Training, documentation, reporting, and continued monitoring of policies and procedures should be strictly adhered to in order to protect younger participants.