Sports Lawyer Alex S. Taps into a Fast-Changing Industry – Esports – With Involvement in ESTA

Feb 12, 2021

By Ellen M. Zavian, Editor-in-Chief

Alex Sinatra, who goes by Alex S. has been nonstop since she graduated from Texas A&M University and then Texas A&M Law School. Her focus has been at the crossroads of sports and marketing, no matter her title. As inhouse counsel for a multinational company, startups, and a professional indoor soccer team, Alex’s work has run the gambit from employment law to corporate law, within the arena of sports and small business entities.

As a journalist for USA TODAY Sports Media Group’s NFL Wire, author of numerous ‘how to books’, and podcast producer/host of ‘Your Potential for Everything’, Alex agreed to chat with ESL on one of her newest endeavors, serving as a Board of Director for the newly formed Esports Trade Association, holding the chair of the Legal & Governance Committee position.

Q: Did you play video games growing up?

A: When I was younger, I lived in a small farm in rural Missouri. We had dial-up internet, so I played some titles on our family computer. The two titles I played the most were Jill of the Jungle and the original The Oregon Trail. They were logic games that helped spark my love for solving problems and may have played a role in my decision to become an attorney.

Q: What kind of employment matters do you believe is top of discussion in the esports arena?

A: I am seeing that there is a lot of fluctuation between how teams and leagues are categorizing their professional gamers. Some are employees while others are independent contractors, even though it seems, in many instances, the categorization is incorrect. Mis-categorization of these gamers could have some long-lasting and detrimental effects especially in employee-friendly states such as California.

Q: Why the need for the ESTA now?

A: Although the esports industry has come a long way from the early days, in some respects it is still the Wild West. There is a need for an organization that helps those within the space to have a reliable place to turn to when they have questions or concerns. For businesses in the industry and for those who want to get into the industry, ESTA helps to connect those companies. The mission of ESTA is to serve and advance the business interests of the esports industry and to build a sustainable community where businesses thrive. 

Q: The Pandemic has led to greater growth in the esports space, which means more venture capital (VC) money available to invest into esport specific startups. What would you advise a startup in this space?

A: I would advise startups to do their research on who is offering them money and what the responsibilities for both parties would be. There are also some great accelerators in the industry that help startups get off the ground and provide wonderful mentorship opportunities and advice to those startups.