ESport Superstars

38 Pages Posted: 19 Apr 2018

See all articles by Michael R. Ward

Michael R. Ward

University of Texas at Arlington - College of Business Administration - Department of Economics; ZEW, Mannheim

Alexander Harmon

Ascension Analytics Group

Date Written: March 30, 2018


We analyze careers of eSports professional players. Professional video gaming is a fast growing spectator ‘sport’ with huge fan bases. The industry has been able to monetize this spectator demand to offer tournament prize money that now exceeds $100,000,000 per year. While tens of thousands of eSport gamers have earned prize money, only a few hundred earn enough to remain professional gamers exclusively. We examine three aspects of professional eSport player careers. First, we find a ‘superstar’ effect in which increases in prize money draws amateurs into the professional ranks. We examine the effects of age and experience on player productivity. We show that career exits reflect a quick resolution regarding the uncertainty a player has regarding his actual ability.

Keywords: eSports, Superstars

JEL Classification: J60, L96

Suggested Citation

Ward, Michael Robert and Harmon, Alexander, ESport Superstars (March 30, 2018). Available at SSRN: or

Michael Robert Ward (Contact Author)

University of Texas at Arlington - College of Business Administration - Department of Economics ( email )

330 Business Building
Box 19479
Arlington, TX 76019
United States
817-272-3090 (Phone)
817-272-3145 (Fax)

ZEW, Mannheim ( email )

D-68034 Mannheim

Alexander Harmon

Ascension Analytics Group ( email )

2501 Parkview Drive
Fort Worth, TX 76102
United States

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