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What Is eSports and Why Do People Watch It?

Hamari, J., & Sjöblom, M. (2017). What is eSports and why do people watch it? Internet research, 27(2). DOI: 10.1108/IntR-04-2016-0085, Forthcoming

34 Pages Posted: 6 Nov 2015 Last revised: 19 Aug 2016

Juho Hamari

School of Information Science, University of Tampere

Max Sjöblom

Game Research Lab, School of Information Science, Tampere University; Media Lab, Aalto University School of Science

Date Written: 2017

Abstract

Purpose: In this study we investigate why do people spectate eSports on the internet. We define eSports (electronic sports) as a form of sports where the primary aspects of the sport are facilitated by electronic systems; the input of players and teams as well as the output of the eSports system are mediated by human-computer interfaces. In more practical terms, eSports refer to competitive video gaming (broadcasted on the internet).

Methodology: We employed the MSSC (Motivations Scale for Sports Consumption) which is one of the most widely applied measurement instruments for sports consumption in general. The questionnaire was designed and pre-tested before distributing to target respondents (N=888). The reliability and validity of the instrument both met the commonly accepted guidelines. The model was assessed first by examining its measurement model and then the structural model.

Findings: The results indicate that escapism, acquiring knowledge about the games being played, novelty and eSports athlete aggressiveness were found to positively predict eSport spectating frequency.

Originality: During recent years, eSports (electronic sports) and video game streaming have become rapidly growing forms of new media in the internet driven by the growing provenance of (online) games and online broadcasting technologies. Today, hundreds of millions of people spectate eSports. The present investigation presents a large study on gratification-related determinants of why people spectate eSports on the internet. Moreover, the study proposes a definition for eSports and further discusses how eSports can be seen as a form of sports.

Keywords: media consumption, online video, uses and gratifications, streaming, eSports, games

Suggested Citation

Hamari, Juho and Sjöblom, Max, What Is eSports and Why Do People Watch It? (2017). Hamari, J., & Sjöblom, M. (2017). What is eSports and why do people watch it? Internet research, 27(2). DOI: 10.1108/IntR-04-2016-0085, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2686182

Juho Hamari (Contact Author)

School of Information Science, University of Tampere ( email )

Tampere, FIN-33101
Finland

Max Sjöblom

Game Research Lab, School of Information Science, Tampere University ( email )

P.O. 541, Korkeakoulunkatu 8 (Festia building)
Tampere, FI-33101
Finland

Media Lab, Aalto University School of Science ( email )

Espoo
Finland

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