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Business Tips for Starting a Rocket League Team (or any team)

 

So it finally happened.  Your third friend got tired of living in denial and picked up or downloaded a copy of the next great eSport.  Fortunately, this friend happens to be a naturally talented gamer. In fact, she is so talented that you are confident that she can master Rocket League's mind bending physics in a matter of days.  You see this as the perfect opportunity.  It's time to build a squad and take on the best in the world.

Most of you are probably like me.  That is, you would have an easier time posting up on Anthony Davis then you would at beating anyone on that list.  If so, this article is likely not for you because you're only in it for the fun.  However, if you're ambitious, if you really plan to do this thing, you should do it right.

I don't just mean drafting a gamer who can consistently make an aerial save, I mean setting up your squad so that, when you do win and become famous across the eSports community, your rights and interests are protected.  To that end, here are a few quick tips to get your team started (FYI, this can apply to virtually any other eSport):

1. Protect your Squad 

Winning tournaments is awesome.  It gives you a little bit of money and provides bragging rights (which are worth their wait in gold). However, we all know the real money in burgeoning eSports titles is sponsorship. Rocket League, due to its fast paced action and more traditional "sports" platform, is a perfect title for sponsorship from a multitude of brands.
If you plan on being sponsored, you will enter into contracts with sponsors.  Anytime there is a contract, no matter how basic, there is a modicum of legal risk.  You and your teammates are just in this for the love of the game and you want to leave as much space as possible between yourselves and the legal risk.  To that end, you should create a business entity.  There are several different structures from which to choose, however I would suggest a Limited Liability Company (LLC).  An LLC is, for the most part, governed by its operation agreement.  That is to say, you will be able to structure the company any way you like. It provides the liability shields and other benefits of a corporation, without the more stringent rules and regulations.  They are also relatively easy to form (you can even do it online!).

2. Protect your Brand

So you just formed a new Rocket League team and it's going awesome?  You're going to want a unique name.  What about a kickass logo?   Maybe you want to develop a cool backstory for your teammates.  Rocket League is a sci-fi game after all.  Perhaps your prize defender is a fugitive from the Andromeda Galaxy, playing Rocket League to make enough money to fly back and seek vengeance.  That might be taking it a little far, but have at it.
In any event, you want to protect your creative works.  Register the trademark of that unique team name.  Do the same for that awesome logo and register the copyright for any artwork or story that goes with it.  As you know, you have the legal rights to a creative work as soon as you put pen to paper with an original thought.  However, registration puts the public on notice and gives you access to additional remedies should someone steal your idea.  You can also say "I have a registered trademark!" which works great at parties.

3. Protect your Players (Contracts)

Finally, if you and your teammates are going to be sharing the load and sharing the wealth that comes with it, you are going to want to have contracts in place.  I know you are all friends or at the very least friendly acquaintances and I'm sure each of you is the paragon of professionalism.  However, this is business.  A contract will codify how you will share the winnings (even if it's obvious like a 3 way split), how you will share the sponsor fees, and how long your teammates will be your teammates.  One more thing, don't write the contract yourself.  Consult an attorney.  It will be a simply draft for him or her and worth it for you in the long run. Trust me.
Follow these steps and enjoy your Rocket League glory!!  I'll see you on the pitch (Be gentle).
DISCLAIMER: This article is intended for informational purposes only.  It is not intended to provide legal advice.  If you are in need of legal advice, please consult a licensed attorney.

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