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eSports, organized video game competitions, are growing in popularity, with top tournaments drawing crowds of spectators rivaling traditional sporting events. Understanding the extent to which eSport operates similarly to traditional sport is vital to developing marketing strategies for the eSport industry and informing academic research on eSport. Prior research has examined eSports in isolation from traditional sports, overlooking direct comparisons to understand the degree to which eSport spectators are motivated similarly to traditional sport spectators. The current study measures widely-used sport consumption motives to examine their influence on eSport spectatorship and game attendance frequency. In South Korea, spectator motives across one traditional sport (soccer) and two eSport contexts (FIFA Online 3 and StarCraft II) were measured. MANOVA results identify similar patterns for 11 out of 15 motives across the three. Significant differences between contexts include vicarious achievement, excitement, physical attractiveness, and family bonding. Multiple regression analysis results show that spectators across contexts have distinct sets of motives influencing game attendance. The current study demonstrates that traditional sport and eSports are similarly consumed, suggesting that sport industry professionals can manage and market eSport events similarly to traditional sport events.
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108 Volume 27 • Number 2 • 2018 • Sport Marketing Quarterly
Sport Marketing Quarterly, 2018, 27, 108-123, © 2018 West Virginia University
eSport vs. Sport: A Comparison of
Spectator Motives
Anthony D. Pizzo, Bradley J. Baker, Sangwon Na, Mi Ae Lee, Doohan Kim, and Daniel C. Funk
Anthony D. Pizzo is a research/teaching assistant in the School of Sport, Tourism, and Hospitality Management and a PhD
candidate in the Fox School of Business at Temple University. His research interests include strategic management, institution-
al theory, and the growing a liation between the sport and eSport industries.
Bradley J. Baker, PhD, is a research/teaching assistant in the School of Sport, Tourism, and Hospitality Management at Temple
University. His research interests include sport marketing and consumer behavior, sport pricing, sport consumer loyalty, and
machine learning.
Sangwon Na is a PhD candidate in the Fox School of Business at Temple University. His interests include sport marketing and
consumer behavior, internationalization of sport, and sport branding.
Mi Ae Lee is a PhD candidate in the Fox School of Business at Temple University. Her research interests include sport con-
sumer behavior and psychology, and team merchandise sales and marketing.
Doohan Kim, PhD, is a lecturer at the Korea National Sport University. His research interests include sport organization man-
agement strategy, commercial sports facility management, sports branding, and sport industry management of Taekwondo.
Daniel C. Funk, PhD, is a professor in the School of Sport, Tourism, and Hospitality Management at Temple University. His
research interests include sport consumer behavior and marketing.
Abstract
eSports–organized video game competitions–are growing in popularity, with top tournaments drawing
crowds of spectators rivaling traditional sporting events. Understanding the extent to which eSport operates
similarly to traditional sport is vital to developing marketing strategies for the eSport industry and inform-
ing academic research on eSport. Prior research has examined eSports in isolation from traditional sports,
overlooking direct comparisons to understand the degree to which eSport spectators are motivated similarly
to traditional sport spectators.  e current study measures widely-used sport consumption motives to ex-
amine their in uence on eSport spectatorship and game attendance frequency. In South Korea, spectator
motives across one traditional sport (soccer) and two eSport contexts (FIFA Online 3 and StarCra II) were
measured. MANOVA results identify similar patterns for 11 out of 15 motives across the three. Signi cant
di erences between contexts include vicarious achievement, excitement, physical attractiveness, and fam-
ily bonding. Multiple regression analysis results show that spectators across contexts have distinct sets of
motives in uencing game attendance.  e current study demonstrates that traditional sport and eSports
are similarly consumed, suggesting that sport industry professionals can manage and market eSport events
similarly to traditional sport events.
Keywords: eSport, consumer behavior, spectator sport, marketing, spectator motives
eSports, organized video game competitions, are
increasingly receiving mainstream media recognition
as sport (Funk, Pizzo, & Baker, 2018). Yet, consid-
ering eSport as a form of sport is still perceived by
many as subversive (Jonasson &  iborg, 2010).  e
establishment of national and international governing
bodies has added structure and regulation to a quickly
growing industry, institutionalizing the practices of
competitive gaming (Seo, 2013). eSport has many of
the components of traditional sport, including players,
teams, managers, leagues, competitions, marquee
events, endorsement deals, player transfer fees, col-
lege scholarships, and a dark side with match  xing,
doping, and gender-related disputes (Jenny, Manning,
Keiper, & Olrich, 2017; Newzoo, 2016; Gies, 2016).  e
increasing institutionalization and broadening con-
sumer and participant markets of eSport has attracted
major corporate sponsors, such as Microso , Sam-
sung, and Red Bull.  e global eSport industry gen-
erated revenues of more than $325 million worldwide
Volume 27 • Number 2 • 2018 • Sport Marketing Quarterly 109
in 2015, with projected revenues of $465 million in
2017 (Newzoo, 2016). ere is increasing recognition
of eSport as sport among industry stakeholders. eSport
teams are being managed by traditional sport organi-
zations (e.g., Philadelphia 76ers), covered on tradition-
al sport media outlets (e.g., ESPN and Turner Sports),
organized by traditional sport leagues (e.g., e-Ligue
1 and NBA 2K eLeague), and formally recognized by
major university athletics departments (e.g., University
of California–Irvine)—highlighting growing connec-
tions between traditional sport and eSports (Conditt,
2016; Rovell, 2016; Sarkar, 2017).
eSport represents a new area for study in sport con-
sumer behavior (Funk, 2017). Understanding whether
eSport operates similarly to traditional sport is key to
developing appropriate marketing strategies for the
eSport industry and can inform academic research. If
eSports and traditional sports are similarly consumed
in accordance with the same spectator motives,
existing theoretical and practical approaches to sport
consumer behavior are likely applicable to eSport, as
well. Existing eSport research has centered on eSport
consumption, focusing on playing and spectating (e.g.,
Lee & Schoenstedt, 2011; Weiss & Schiele, 2013). is
research examined eSports in isolation from tradi-
tional sports (e.g., soccer, baseball, and basketball),
without comparing the two, and thereby was unable to
understand the extent to which eSport spectators are
motivated similarly to traditional sport spectators (e.g.,
Hamari & Sjöblom, 2017). Other scholars have applied
traditional sport denitions to examine eSport as sport
(e.g., Jenny et al., 2017; Jonasson & iborg, 2010).
While these studies provide a starting point for future
research, they do not extend our knowledge of eSport
spectators from a consumer behavior perspective or
aid in eSport marketing eorts. If eSport and tradi-
tional sport spectators share similar motives, eSport
marketers can utilize established sport marketing
practices.
Understanding spectator motives (e.g., social op-
portunities, vicarious achievement) is essential, as
these motives are predictive of behavioral outcomes
such as game attendance frequency (Fink, Trail, &
Anderson, 2002; Funk, Beaton, & Alexandris, 2012).
Behavioral outcomes in sport marketing research can
encourage sport marketing professionals to identify
the most relevant motives needed to understand sport
spectators. ere are similarities in the consumer
experience of attending eSport events and traditional
sport events. Similarly to traditional sport spectators,
eSport spectators may be seeking social opportunities
to come together, watch their favorite players and
teams compete live, and to be part of an exciting
experience where they can see the best players in
action (Eventbrite, 2015). As such, many of the motives
for attendance may be common across traditional
and eSports. However, eSport spectator motives have
not been assessed at eSport events or compared to
a traditional sport consumption context. Given the
growth of the eSport industry (Newzoo, 2016) and lack
of research, there is a growing need for academic study
in this area.
e current research adapts consumer behavior mo-
tives from established sport consumption motivation
scales. Specically the Motivation Scale for Sport Con-
sumption (MSSC; Trail & James, 2001) and the Sport
Interest Inventory (SII; Funk, Mahony, & Nakazawa,
2001). Motives from the MSSC and SII were selected
given the scales’ established validity within the sport
marketing literature. Comparison of spectator motives
between eSport and traditional sporting event contexts
permits assessment of similarities and dierences
between the two. e use of selected motives from the
MSSC and SII is not meant to be inclusive of all pos-
sible consumer motives, but motives from both scales
were selected to capture a broad range with the aim of
identifying similarities in consumption patterns.
Research Context
Existing denitions of modern sport emphasize its
physical, competitive, and institutionalized dimen-
sions (Guttmann, 2004). Whether eSport meets these
criteria and falls within the boundaries of sport is a
source of ongoing debate (e.g., Hallmann & Giel, 2018;
Heere, 2018; Hilvoorde & Pot 2016; Holt, 2016; Jenny et
al., 2017; Jonasson & iborg, 2010; Witkowski, 2012).
Specically, a critical aspect of the debate centers on
the perceived lack of physical skill in eSport (Jonasson,
2016). An established feature distinguishing a game
from sport is the physical application of skill (Coakley,
2008; Suits, 2007). Some scholars state that eSport
lacks the physicality required to be considered sport
(Jenny et al., 2017). Yet, advocates for eSport as sport
suggest that eSport shares many of the central features
of traditional sport. Proponents argue that eSports
involve interpersonal competition, skill training and
development, adherence to rules, goal attainment,
coordination, and agility (Crawford & Gosling, 2009;
Holt, 2016; Wagner, 2006). e debate over eSport as
sport provides a starting point for additional research
and the need for a novel approach to advance the
conversation.
Considering how eSport meets many of the criteria
for sport (e.g., organized, competitive, institutional-
ized), the current study takes a consumer behavior
perspective as an approach to move the dialogue
110 Volume 27 • Number 2 • 2018 • Sport Marketing Quarterly
forward. Sport management is an applied discipline
and sport marketers could build on existing marketing
strategies if eSport consumers operate similarly to
traditional sport consumers. Sport industry profes-
sionals, beset with the many challenges of their jobs,
do not have the luxury of time to wait for academics to
resolve theoretical disputes and develop denitive an-
swers about the management of sport (Boucher, 1998).
us, the current study considers the possibility that
traditional sports and eSports are consumed similarly
to provide guidance to practitioners managing and
marketing the growing number of eSport events.
eSports and related events are rapidly growing in
global popularity. However, eSports in the West are in
their relative infancy when compared to their estab-
lished place in the culture of some East Asian coun-
tries (Li, 2016). For instance, in South Korea, eSports
are governed by a national association (Korean eSports
Asssocation; KeSPA), which certies professional
players, provides ranking lists, and arranges compe-
titions (Jonasson & iborg, 2010). us, the current
study was conducted in South Korea, where traditional
sports and eSports both operate within stable and
mature environments.
Literature Review
Dening eSport
eSports are organized video game competitions, most
oen in the context of organized tournaments (Jenny
et al., 2017). eSports encompass an array of platforms,
from personal computers to gaming consoles and
genres including sport-themed games such as FIFA
Online 3, and real-time strategy (RTS) games, such as
StarCra II (Seo & Jung, 2014). Sport-themed and RTS
games are two of the most popular genres of eSports
(Jonasson & iborg, 2010). Sport-themed eSports
imitate physical sport, while RTS games are repre-
sentations of ghting or military battles (Burk, 2013).
Similarly to traditional sport, eSports contain compar-
ative measures to assess a player’s level of performance
within the game (Seo, 2013). In sport-themed eSports,
these measures could be consistent with the rules of a
physical sport, such as scoring goals in a soccer match
(Crawford & Gosling, 2009; Seo & Jung, 2014). In RTS
eSports, an individual player controls an entire virtual
army, which is viewed from an aerial perspective
with players focused on defeating or destroying their
opponents (Buchanan‐Oliver & Seo, 2012; Jonasson &
iborg, 2010) via an array of possible objectives, most
commonly destroying their opponents’ structures and
units.
Prevalent stereotypes depict gamers as young, single
men living in their parents’ basement (Casselman,
2015). However, Newzoo, a leader in eSport market
intelligence, found that most eSport fans are employed
full time, 44% are parents, with a large segment (38%)
of female consumers (Souza, 2015). e Entertainment
Soware Association reports that women represent a
rapidly growing segment of gamers (Entertainment
Soware Association, 2016). Industry reports further
suggest that eSports consumers are racially diverse,
resulting from eSports Asian roots moving into North
America and Europe (Price Waterhouse Cooper
[PWC], 2016). One aspect of the stereotype is accurate,
however, as eSport spectators tend to be young—a
potential selling point for marketers looking to appeal
to the next generation of consumers (Souza, 2015).
eSport events are live, competitive tournaments of
predominantly professional gamers (Eventbrite, 2015).
Premier eSport events draw huge crowds and quickly
sell out marquee venues, such as e Staples Center
and Madison Square Garden (PWC, 2016). With
eSport spectators’ desire for more events, in more
places, and more oen (Eventbrite, 2015), understand-
ing eSport event spectator motives can facilitate the
marketing of eSport events and improve the spectator
experience. Industry reports suggest that eSport event
spectators represent a vast source of untapped poten-
tial (PWC, 2016), further highlighting the need for
research into eSport spectator motives.
Sport Motivation Research
Sport consumer behavior researchers have built on the
work of Hebb (1955) and Deci (1971) to understand
sport consumer behavior by identifying motives
salient to sport consumption. Hebb (1955) denes
motivation as the processes that energize and direct
purposeful behavior, with Deci (1971) adding that
motives encourage behaviors because of the enjoy-
ment generated by the activities. Motivation is one of
the most heavily studied constructs in sport-related
research (Snelgrove, Taks, Chalip, & Green, 2008),
with most spectator behaviors fullling social or
psychological needs (Robinson, Trail, Dick, & Gil-
lentine, 2005). Sport marketers have established the
importance of motives on game and event attendance,
with individuals attending for dierent reasons and
desiring dierent aspects of the experience (Robinson
et al., 2005; Trail, Robinson, Dick, & Gillentine, 2003).
Sport consumer motives are multifaceted and
have been examined through a number of dierent
frameworks (Funk et al., 2009; Wann, 1995). ese
frameworks include, but are not limited to, Maslow’s
(1954) hierarchy of needs, push-pull factors (Cromp-
ton, 1979), psychological needs (Sloan, 1989), and
psychological involvement (Funk & James, 2001).
Funk and James (2001) introduced the Psychological
Volume 27 • Number 2 • 2018 • Sport Marketing Quarterly 111
Continuum Model (PCM), which provided a platform
for the systematic study of sport spectators. e PCM
has been used extensively in subsequent sport consum-
er behavior research.
e body of literature on sport consumer behavior
has emphasized the study of motives to help explain
sport spectatorship. Research on sport consumer mo-
tives has provided valuable insight in understanding
sport consumption behaviors (Trail & Kim, 2011) and
identied that these motives are also a central pre-
dictor of sport consumption decisions (Trail, Fink, &
Anderson, 2003). Common motives include vicarious
achievement, drama, excitement, entertainment value,
and social opportunities (Funk et al., 2001; Milne &
McDonald, 1999; Trail & James, 2001).
Recently, sport consumer motivation research has
focused on developing deeper theoretical understand-
ing of sport consumer motives. Funk et al. (2012),
guided by self-determination theory (SDT; Deci &
Ryan, 1985), suggest that sport consumer motivation
can be theoretically conceptualized as extrinsic or
intrinsic. Kim, James, and Kim (2013) categorized mo-
tives into hedonic, psychological connection, and so-
cial inuence to understand the relationship between
motivation and commitment. Common across the
studies of sport spectators is the study of what drives
people to attend sport events (Won & Kitamura, 2007).
Various studies on sport consumer behavior share the
assumption that consumers’ behaviors are driven by
their motives (Snelgrove et al., 2008). Researchers have
identied salient motives in order to examine sport
consumption decisions (Kim, Greenwell, Andrew, Lee,
& Mahony, 2008), with the goal of better understand-
ing sport consumer behavior (Funk et al., 2012).
Various scales exist to measure sport consumer
motives. e Sport Fan Motivation Scale (SFMS;
Wann, 1995) and Motivations of the Sport Consumer
(MSC; Milne & McDonald, 1999) were among the rst
categorize sport spectators’ motives. Trail and James
(2001) suggest that these scales oer limited validity
and reliability. Subsequent sport consumption scales
include the Motivation Scale for Sport Consumption
(MSSC; Trail & James, 2001) and the Sport Interest
Inventory (SII; Funk et al., 2001). e MSSC and SII
were developed to measure motivations for sport
spectator consumption to evaluate psychological mo-
tives of spectator consumption. Both scales measure
conceptually similar motives such as aesthetics, social
interaction, and vicarious achievement.
e current study compares traditional sport
spectator motives to eSport spectator motives to better
understand the behavior of eSport consumers. It
compares one traditional sport (soccer) to two eSports
(FIFA Online 3 and StarCra II), thereby drawing a
direct parallel between a traditional sport and two
eSports. Spectator motives for one traditional sport
may not be entirely representative of motives to attend
all sports, but the emphasis of the current study is on
exploring whether eSport consumer behavior operates
similarly to traditional sport consumer behavior. Ad-
ditionally, there is a scarcity of academic research on
sport marketing in Asia (Yoshida & Heere, 2015). e
current study addresses this scarcity in the existing
literature by comparing spectator motives in South
Korea. Yet, as proposed by Yoshida and Heere (2015),
sport consumer behavior patterns in Asia are marked
by universal psychological constructs. e current
study focused on a psychological construct, moti-
vation, as the foundation for the following research
to assess the possibility that eSports and traditional
sports are consumed in order to fulll the same
spectator motives.
eSport research is still in an early stage. Industry
reports suggest that eSport spectators share similar
motives with traditional sport spectators (PWC,
2016). Spectators of eSport are similar to spectators
of traditional sport in the respect that neither wants
to miss the big game, with eSport spectators going
to live events to be a part of a stimulating experience
where they can see the best eSport athletes in action
(Eventbrite, 2015). Furthermore, existing eSport
spectator research nds that athlete aggressiveness
positively predicts spectatorship (Hamari & Sjöblom,
2017), similar to the conclusions of Lee, Trail, and
Anderson (2009) who found an analogous relation-
ship in hockey and collegiate sport contexts. us,
considering the similarities between traditional sport
and eSport, the current study adapts items from the
MSSC and SII to assess the possibility that traditional
sport and eSport spectators share sport consumption
motives.
eSport Consumption Motives
Prior eSport research has focused on the motivation to
play eSports. Past research suggests that eSport partic-
ipation is driven by competition, challenge, escapism,
and skill development (Lee & Schoenstedt, 2011,
Weiss & Schiele, 2013). eSport spectating frequency
is predicted by escapism, acquiring knowledge about
the games being played, novelty of new players and
teams, and athlete aggressiveness (Hamari & Sjöblom,
2017). Hamari and Sjöblom (2017) did not distinguish
between dierent eSports, treating motives to spec-
tate eSport as universal across all games and genres.
Furthermore, their research viewed eSport in isolation
from traditional sport, missing opportunities to
identify shared motives between traditional sport and
112 Volume 27 • Number 2 • 2018 • Sport Marketing Quarterly
eSport. James and Ross (2004) compared motives that
inuence consumption across sports to develop tar-
geted marketing strategies. e current study adopts a
similar approach by comparing eSports and tradition-
al sports to identify whether widely researched sport
motives also inuence eSports consumption. us, the
following hypothesis is proposed:
H1: Traditional sport and eSport spectators
have the same sport consumption motive
patterns (i.e., statistically similar mean scores
across contexts).
Absent from prior research on eSport consumption
is the measurement of game attendance frequency—a
commonly assessed behavioral outcome in sport
consumption research (e.g., Funk et al., 2012)—its rela-
tionship with spectator motives. Behavioral outcomes
such as game attendance frequency are important for
sport marketers, as spectator behavior is a signicant
component of revenue production (Fink et al., 2002).
In line with the rst hypothesis that traditional sport
and eSport spectators share sport consumption motive
patterns, the relationships between motives and game
attendance frequency should follow similar relation-
ships established in sport marketing literature. us,
the following hypothesis is proposed:
H2: Spectator attendance motives impact game
attendance frequency similarly across tradi-
tional sport and eSport contexts.
Method
e purpose of this study was to compare spectator
motives for attending traditional sport and eSport con-
tests. Data were collected in three research contexts: a
traditional sport (soccer) event, a sport-themed eSport
event, and an RTS eSport event. South Korean profes-
sional sport and eSport contexts were selected as the
research setting, as both have a prominent presence in
Korean culture (KOCIS, 2016; Seo & Jung, 2014). For
eSports, FIFA Online 3 represents not only an eSport,
but also is a virtual representation of professional tra-
ditional sport. Furthermore, FIFA Online 3 represents
the same traditional sport (i.e., soccer) included in the
study. Finally, StarCra II, an RTS game depicting
military science ction battles rather than a virtual
representation of traditional sport, is one of the most
popular eSports in Korea, oen colloquially referred to
as Korea’s national sport (Gayomali, 2010).
In each setting, a team of research assistants collect-
ed data from spectators using pen-and-paper surveys.
e rst event was a Korean professional soccer league
match (K League) at Tancheon Stadium. e second
event was a sport-themed eSport event featuring the
soccer-based game FIFA Online 3 at Nexon Arena. e
third event was a RTS eSport event featuring StarCra
II at Nexon Arena. Tancheon Stadium is the home eld
for Seongnam FC, while Nexon Arena is a dedicated
eSport stadium that hosts events for multiple eSport
titles. Both Tancheon Stadium and Nexon Arena
are in the greater Seoul metropolitan area in South
Korea. All events at which data were collected were
regular-season matches in professional leagues for the
respective sport or eSport.
Data Collection Procedure
Spectators at each match were asked to complete a
one-page, double-sided survey consisting of 15 items
assessing their attendance motives, one item for
game attendance frequency, and ve items regarding
demographic information. In each event setting, a
team of research assistants distributed approximately
200 printed questionnaires to randomly-selected
spectators before and aer an event. Outside the main
entrance to Tancheon Stadium, every third spectator
was approached and asked to complete and return
the survey. Inside Nexon Arena, a similar procedure
took place; every third spectator was approached and
asked to complete and return the survey. A total of
606 questionnaires were collected from three dierent
events. Questionnaires were reviewed for completeness
and usability of the responses. Seventy-eight research
participants marked the same response to each item
(straight-lining; Herzog & Bachman, 1981) and were
subsequently dropped from further data analysis. An
additional 11 surveys were incompletely lled out and
were also dropped from further analysis. A total of 517
completed questionnaires remained: 187 for K League
soccer, 178 for FIFA Online 3, and 152 for StarCra II.
Participants
Participants’ demographic characteristics—age,
gender, household income, level of education, and
employment status—were collected. Overall, the 18–24
year-old age group (n = 337, 65.2%) was most prevalent
and a majority of participants were male (n = 382,
73.9%). e less than W20,000,000 South Korean Won
(approximately $17,700 USD) household income group
(n =192, 37.1%) was larger than that of other household
income levels. e average annual household income
in Korea is approximately equivalent to $47,000 USD
(KOSIS, 2017). Reecting the age range, most partic-
ipants indicated their education level as some college
degree (n = 331, 64.0%) and their job as student (n =
401, 77.6%). Detailed participant demographics are
provided in Table 1.
Volume 27 • Number 2 • 2018 • Sport Marketing Quarterly 113
Instrumentation
e survey comprised three main sections: spectator
motives, consumption behavior (i.e., game attendance
frequency), and demographics. All non-demographic
items were assessed using a seven-point Likert scale
anchored with (1) strongly disagree and (7) strongly
agree. Spectator motives were measured using a single
item for each of 15 dimensions from the Sport Interest
Inventory (Funk et al., 2001) and the Motivation Scale
for Sport Consumption (Trail & James 2001). Specif-
ically, included motive items measured: interest in
[sport], vicarious achievement, excitement, interest in a
favorite player, aesthetics, social opportunities, drama,
role models, entertainment value, wholesome envi-
ronment, opportunity for family bonding, acquisition
of knowledge, player skill, player attractiveness, and
player aggression. Items were tailored for each specic
data collection context (e.g., referring to “Seongnam
FC” versus “FIFA Online 3”) where necessary. Specic
items to represent each dimension were selected based
upon a review of item wording and factor loadings
reported by Funk et al. (2001) and Trail and James
(2001). Self-reported game attendance behavior was
measured with one item (“I frequently attend [sport]
matches in person”) adapted from Funk, Beaton, and
Alexandris (2012).
All spectator motives and game attendance behavior
were assessed with single-item measures. While the
use of single-item measures has been discouraged
(Churchill, 1979), the approach also has its advocates
(e.g., Rossiter, 2002). Single-item measures provide
benets over a multi-item approach, especially when a
large number of constructs are measured and respon-
dents may become fatigued or unwilling to complete
a lengthy survey (Kwon & Trail, 2005). By employing
single-item measures, researchers can develop survey
instruments that require less respondent time, are less
monotonous, and can improve response rate (Gardner,
Table 1. Demographic Characteristics
Overall K League FIFA Online 3 StarCra II
n % n % n % n %
Age Under 18 71 13.7 15 8.0 35 19.7 21 13.8
18–24 337 65.2 118 63.1 115 64.6 104 68.4
25–34 70 13.5 25 13.4 23 12.9 22 14.5
35–44 33 6.4 23 12.3 52.8 53.3
45 and over 61.2 63.2 0000
Gender Male 382 73.9 136 72.7 127 71.3 119 78.3
Female 135 26.1 51 27. 3 51 28.7 33 21.7
Income Less than W20,000,000 192 37.1 64 34.2 71 39.9 57 37.5
W20,000,001 - W40,000,000 124 24.0 44 23.5 45 25.3 35 23.0
W40,000,001 - W60,000,000 109 21.1 41 21.9 35 19.7 33 21.7
Over W60,000,000 92 17.8 38 20.3 27 15.2 27 17.8
Education Some high school 67 13.0 14 7.5 33 18.5 20 13.2
HS graduate 31 6.0 15 8.0 10 5.6 63.9
Some college 331 64.0 113 60.4 114 64.0 104 68.4
College degree 75 14.5 43 23.0 16 9.0 16 10.5
Master’s / Professional degree 13 2.5 21.1 52.8 63.9
Employment Full-time job 65 12.6 28 15.0 19 10.7 18 11.8
Part-time job 42 8.1 15 8.0 13 7.3 14 9.2
Homemaker 2.4 21.1 0000
Student 401 77.6 137 73.3 145 81.5 119 78.3
Not currently employed 51.0 42.1 001.7
Other 2 .4 1.5 1.6 0 0
Tot al 517 187 178 152
114 Volume 27 • Number 2 • 2018 • Sport Marketing Quarterly
Cummings, Dunham, & Pierce, 1998; Pomeroy,
Clark, & Philip, 2001). Multi-item and single-item
measures have been found to oer comparable levels
of reliability and validity (Jordan & Turner, 2008),
which suggests a single-item approach may be ecient
and eective. In research similar to the current study,
Ridinger and Funk (2006) used single-item measures
for SII dimensions in an investigation of spectator
motives among fans of women’s and men’s college
basketball. In consideration of these reasons, the use
of single-item measures capturing the essence of each
spectator motive in an ecient manner was deemed
suitable in the current study.
All items were drawn from measures originally de-
veloped in English, and they required translation into
Korean. Translation and evaluation of the translation
followed the method suggested by Brislin (1970, 1986).
e survey instrument was initially developed in En-
glish and translated into Korean by a researcher who
is a native speaker of Korean and uent in English.
e Korean version was back-translated into English
by a second bilingual researcher who was blind to the
original form of the items. is process resulted in two
versions of the survey in English. A third researcher
compared the original and the back-translated instru-
ments. e result of this comparison indicated that the
two instruments were conceptually equivalent.
Analysis
Analysis included both descriptive and inferential
analysis. Since the goal of the current study was to
examine similarities and dierences in spectator mo-
tives between traditional sport and eSport spectators,
comparisons were conducted across the three event
contexts. Addressing hypothesis one, a multivariate
analysis of variance (MANOVA) was used to assess
whether there were signicant dierences across the
three event contexts with respect to spectator motives.
Post-hoc comparisons were used to identify signicant
dierences between context pairs. To assess hypothesis
two, multiple linear regression was employed to exam-
ine the relationships between the 15 spectator motives
and the game attendance frequency measure. Patterns
of coecients for each context were then compared to
evaluate the hypothesis that spectator motives asso-
ciated with game attendance frequency would be the
same across all three event contexts.
Table 2. Sport Spectator Motives
Constructs Item Overall
M (SD)
Interest in [sport] First and foremost, I consider myself a fan of [sport]. 4.40 (1.87)
Vicarious achievement I feel a sense of accomplishment when my favorite player wins. 4.92 (1.63)
Excitement I nd [sport] matches very exciting. 4.61 (1.71)
Interest in player e main reason I attend [sport] matches is to cheer for my favorite player. 4.25 (1.72)
Aesthetics Successful plays and strategies performed by the players are an important
component of [sport] being enjoyable. 4. 59 (1.77)
Social opportunities [Sport] matches give me a great opportunity to socialize with other people. 4.3 4 (1.70)
Drama A close match is more enjoyable than a blowout. 4.70 (1.80)
Role model [Sport] gamers inspire me. 3.88 (1.73)
Entertainment value Watching [sport] is great entertainment for the price. 4.23 (1.83)
Wholesome environment I value the wholesome environment evident at [sport] matches. 4.24 (1.66)
Family bonding Attending [sport] matches gives me a chance to bond with my family. 3.73 (1.71)
Acquisition of knowledge I can increase my understanding of strategy by watching [sport] matches. 4.46 (1.58)
Skill of the athletes e superior skills are something I appreciate while watching [sport]. 4.41 (1.76)
Physical attractiveness I enjoy watching players who are physically attractive. 4.12 (1.70)
Enjoyment of aggression I enjoy the aggressive behavior of the players. 4.07 (1.71)
Note. M = Mean, SD = Standard Deviation
Volume 27 • Number 2 • 2018 • Sport Marketing Quarterly 115
Results
e overall mean values and standard deviations for
15 motives are provided in Table 2.
In order to identify similarities between traditional
and eSport spectators, a MANOVA was conducted on
15 motives across the spectator groups for K League
Soccer, FIFA Online 3, and StarCra II. e result
of the MANOVA demonstrated that across all three
contexts, 11 of 15 motives were statistically similar,
F(30, 1000) = 4.485, p = .000; Wilk's Λ = .777, partial
η2 = .12. us, the rst hypothesis, which posited that
traditional sport and eSport spectators have the same
sport consumption motives patterns, was partially
supported. Signicant dierences were present in
vicarious achievement, F(2, 514) = 8.318, p = .000,
partial η2 = .03, excitement, F(2, 514) = 3.496, p = .031,
partial η2 = .01, family bonding, F(2, 514) = 5.115, p =
.006, partial η2 = .02, and physical attractiveness, F(2,
514) = 4.336, p = .014, partial η2 = .02. Tukey’s HSD
post hoc tests revealed that K League soccer spectators
rated the motive of vicarious achievement signicantly
higher than other spectators in both of FIFA Online
3 and StarCra II. Physical attractiveness and family
bonding were signicantly higher for K League soccer
spectators than FIFA Online 3 spectators. However,
the excitement motive for FIFA Online 3 was signi-
cantly higher than for K League soccer. ese results
suggest that K League and eSport (i.e., FIFA Online
3 and StarCra II) spectators report similar levels of
agreement on 11 of 15 motives while diering on four
others (i.e., vicarious achievement, excitement, family
bonding, and physical attractiveness). Similarities and
dierences between the traditional sport and the two
eSports are presented in Table 3.
e multiple regression model from K League soccer
spectators with 15 motivation predictors produced
R² = .540, F(15, 171) = 13.372, p = .000. Interest in K
League soccer (ß = .212, p = .014), excitement (ß =
-.286, p = .002), interest in player (ß = .413, p = .000),
drama (ß = -252, p = .000), and wholesome environ-
ment (ß = .432, p = .000) were signicant predictors of
game attendance frequency. e ß coecients revealed
that spectator interest in K League soccer, interest
in player, and wholesome environment positively
inuence their game attendance frequency. However,
excitement and drama of the game negatively aected
spectator game attendance frequency.
e multiple regression model from FIFA Online 3
with 15 motivation predictors produced R² = .545, F
(15, 162) = 12.953, p = .000. Interest in FIFA Online 3
(ß = .288, p = .003), vicarious achievement (ß = -.217, p
= .023), interest in player (ß = .343, p = .001), aesthetics
(ß = -.495, p = .000), and role model (ß = .377, p =
.000) were signicant predictors of game attendance
frequency. Results revealed that individual interest
in FIFA Online 3, interest in the eSport player, and
role model positively impacted their game attendance
frequency. However, vicarious achievement and
aesthetics negatively aected their game attendance
frequency.
e multiple regression model from StarCra II
with 15 motivation predictors produced R² = .589,
F(15, 136) = 13.017, p = .000. Vicarious achievement
(ß = .207, p = .024), social opportunities (ß = -.261,
p = .031), entertainment value (ß = .476, p = .001),
family bonding (ß = .210, p = .021), and skill of the
athletes (ß = .301, p = .010) were signicant predictors
of game attendance frequency. Results revealed that
spectator vicarious achievement, entertainment value,
family bonding, and skill of the athletes positively
inuenced their game attendance frequency. However,
the social opportunities negatively aected their game
attendance frequency. Complete results of all multiple
regression analyses are presented in Table 4.
Across contexts, ß coecients of several signicant
predictors were negatively related to game attendance
frequency. e negative relationship between specta-
tor sport motives and sport consumer consumption
behaviors is consistent with the assessment of the
predictive validity ndings of the MSSC and SII (e.g.,
Funk et al., 2003; Trail & James, 2001).
Discussion
e current study utilizes the ndings of existing
sport consumer motivation research (e.g., Funk et al.,
2002; Trail & James, 2001) in a traditional and eSport
context. Holistically, the results demonstrate that
traditional sport and eSport spectators have similar
sport consumption motives, though spectators from
each event context exhibited distinct motives predict-
ing game attendance frequency. Motives inuencing
game attendance frequency between the sport-themed
eSport and traditional sport were similar to one an-
other than the relationship between any other context
pair. is suggests sport-themed eSports are more
closely related to sports than to other eSports from a
consumer behavior perspective.
Testing the rst hypothesis, 11 of the 15 motives
were similar across the three contexts. Signicant
dierences were found in vicarious achievement,
excitement, physical attractiveness, and family bond-
ing. Similar to past research on motives to spectate
traditional soccer matches (Mahony, Nakazawa, Funk,
James, & Gladden, 2002), vicarious achievement was
found to be salient in both soccer contexts. However
traditional soccer fans rated this motive signicantly
116 Volume 27 • Number 2 • 2018 • Sport Marketing Quarterly
Table 3. Similarities and Dierences of Spectator Motives by Sport
Motive
K-League
Soccer FIFA Online 3 StarCra II MANOVA Tukey's HSD post-
hoc tests
M (SD) M (SD) M (SD) F p Groups p
Interest in [sport] 4.31
(1.83) 4.63
(1.92) 4.24
(1.84) 2.159 .116 A vs B
A vs C
B vs C
.221
.943
.140
Vicarious achievement 5.28
(1.50) 4.84
(1.65) 4.58
(1.68) 8.318 .000 A vs B
A vs C
B vs C
.024
.000
.313
Excitement 4.41
(1.63) 4.87
(1.56) 4.56
(1.93) 3.496 .031 A vs B
A vs C
B vs C
.026
.689
.223
Interest in player 4.25
(1.61) 4.22
(1.77) 4.29
(1.81) .059 .943 A vs B
A vs C
B vs C
.992
.971
.938
Aesthetics 4.53
(1.62) 4.58
(1.82) 4.68
(1.88) .325 .723 A vs B
A vs C
B vs C
.953
.702
.866
Social opportunities 4.33
(1.71) 4.50
(1.65) 4.16
(1.76) 1.661 .191 A vs B
A vs C
B vs C
.593
.637
.164
Drama 4.81
(1.88) 4.51
(1.84) 4.80
(1.64) 1.620 .199 A vs B
A vs C
B vs C
.246
1.000
.294
Role model 3.74
(1.63) 3.80
(1.88) 4.14
(1.64) 2.550 .079 A vs B
A vs C
B vs C
.941
.085
.174
Entertainment value 4.16
(1.63) 4.15
(1.96) 4.39
(1.89) .917 .401 A vs B
A vs C
B vs C
.999
.469
.451
Wholesome environment 4.30
(1.55) 4.22
(1.73) 4.18
(1.71) .235 .791 A vs B
A vs C
B vs C
.890
.784
.974
Family bonding 4.03
(1.56) 3.46
(1.79) 3.69
(1.76) 5.115 .006 A vs B
A vs C
B vs C
.004
.168
.439
Acquisition of knowledge 4.43
(1.45) 4.38
(1.71) 4.59
(1.59) .816 .443 A vs B
A vs C
B vs C
.948
.609
.434
Skill of the athletes 4.26
(1.55) 4.35
(1.88) 4.66
(1.83) 2.297 .102 A vs B
A vs C
B vs C
.885
.098
.247
Physical attractiveness 4.40
(1.52) 3.89
(1.78) 4.04
(1.78) 4.336 .014 A vs B
A vs C
B vs C
.012
.132
.695
Enjoyment of aggression 4.04
(1.75) 4.11
(1.66) 4.05
(1.73) .101 .904 A vs B
A vs C
B vs C
.908
.999
.935
Note. A: K League soccer (n = 187), B: FIFA Online 3 (n = 178), C: StarCra II (n = 152).
Volume 27 • Number 2 • 2018 • Sport Marketing Quarterly 117
higher than did spectators in both eSport contexts.
is nding could result from eSport event emphasis
on the digital display of in-game action, while tradi-
tional sport spectators benet from direct sightlines to
players and the eld of play (Wakeeld & Sloan, 1995).
Excitement, an established motive from traditional
spectator sport (e.g., Funk, Filo, Beaton, & Pritchard,
2009), was signicantly higher for the sport-themed
game than in traditional sport, suggesting eSports
may be more immersive and engaging than tradi-
tional sports. Consistent with prior research, physical
attractiveness and family bonding were salient motives
related to traditional sport consumption (e.g., Trail &
James, 2001). ese motives were signicantly higher
for traditional sport than FIFA Online 3. Physical
attractiveness of traditional sport players is a signi-
cant motive for sport spectators (e.g., Trail & James,
2001). e physical attractiveness of eSport players
has been shown to have an insignicant relationship
with eSport spectatorship (Hamari & Sjöblom, 2017),
consistent with the current study’s ndings. Family
bonding was signicantly higher for traditional sport
spectators than the virtual representation of sport.
is supports market research that identies eSport
spectators as younger than traditional sport spectators
(PWC, 2016) and generally less likely to be parents
(Souza, 2015).
Most notably, athlete skill, a signicant motive iden-
tied in multiple traditional sport contexts (James &
Ross, 2004), was rated higher for both eSport contexts
than for the traditional sport, and was signicantly
higher for the RTS game than for the traditional sport.
e lack of applied skills of eSports is one of the most
commonly contested dimensions for excluding eSports
as sport (see Jenny et al., 2017, for a more complete
discussion). Yet the current study demonstrates that
the appreciation of the skills needed to perform
in competitive eSport competitions is a signicant
attendance motive at or beyond the level observed in
traditional sport.
Results from the current study on eSport specta-
torship converge with those of Hamari and Sjöblom
(2017) who found that athlete aggressiveness is a
salient motive for eSport spectatorship. Hamari and
Sjöblom (2017) reported that eSport players’ physi-
cal attractiveness was not a signicant predictor of
Table 4. Motives Impacting Traditional Sport and eSports on Game Attendance Frequency
Constructs Traditional Soccer
(K League Soccer) Sport-emed eSport
(FIFA Online 3)Real-Time Strategy
(StarCra II)
B SE B ß p B SE B ß p B SE B ß p
Constant .597 .444 .181 .925 .374 .014 -.163 .416 .696
Interest in [sport] .212 .085 .212 .014 .287 .096 .288 .003 .010 .097 .009 .917
Vicarious achievement .046 .080 .037 .572 -.252 .109 -.217 .023 .243 .107 .207 .024
Excitement -.321 .103 -.286 .002 -.110 .117 -.089 .350 -.291 .161 -.284 .074
Interest in player .469 .103 .413 .000 .371 .106 .343 .001 .199 .166 .182 .231
Aesthetics -.057 .117 -.051 .628 -.519 .116 -.495 .000 .099 .127 .094 .437
Social opportunities -.008 .106 -.007 .941 .016 .103 .014 .875 -.293 .134 -.261 .031
Drama -.245 .060 -.252 .000 .092 .079 .089 .243 -.137 .086 -.114 .114
Role model -.085 .107 -.076 .428 .383 .088 .377 .000 .138 .117 .115 .238
Entertainment value .087 .093 .078 .352 .111 .102 .114 .278 .498 .141 .476 .001
Wholesome environment .508 .124 .432 .000 .212 .113 .192 .064 -.113 .136 -.098 .406
Family bonding .054 .089 .046 .544 .042 .082 .040 .605 .236 .101 .210 .021
Acquisition of knowledge .112 .124 .089 .366 .106 .119 .094 .376 -.036 .138 -.029 .795
Skill of the athletes .001 .110 .001 .990 -.080 .113 -.079 .481 .326 .124 .301 .010
Physical attractiveness .014 .082 .012 .862 -.009 .086 -.009 .915 -.056 .122 -.051 .646
Enjoyment of aggression -.008 .080 -.008 .915 .057 .095 .050 .547 .126 .108 .110 .248
F-statistic 13.372 12.953 13.017
R2 .540 .545 .589
Note. Signicant values in bold.
118 Volume 27 • Number 2 • 2018 • Sport Marketing Quarterly
eSport spectatorship. Results in the current study
expanded on this conclusion and indicated that the
physical attractiveness of traditional sport players
is signicantly higher than that of eSport players.
Results of the current study diverge from Hamari
and Sjöblom (2017) regarding vicarious achievement,
drama, skill of the athletes, and social opportunities.
Vicarious achievement, while statistically higher for
traditional sport, was also a salient motive for both
eSports. Drama and social opportunities, salient sport
consumption motives (James & Ross, 2004), were also
relevant motives and statistically equal across all three
contexts in contrast to Hamari and Sjöblom (2017),
who found these motives insignicant. e contrasting
ndings may be a result of the in-person eSport event
experience (i.e., Nexon Arena) used in the current
study, while Hamari and Sjöblom (2017) examined
online eSport spectatorship. Results regarding drama
are consistent with the qualitative ndings of Cheung
and Huang (2011), who identied the importance of
drama in eSport consumption. Results conrm eSport
event market research (e.g., Eventbrite, 2015) that
event spectators are looking for a dramatic experience,
consistent with prior spectator sport research (e.g.,
James & Ross, 2004).
e second hypothesis proposed that spectator
attendance motives impact game attendance frequency
similarly across the three event contexts. e ex-
plained variance in attendance frequency was similar
across the three contexts of K League (R2=.54), FIFA
Online 3 (R2=.55), and StarCra II (R2=.59). Although
the composition of motives diered in terms of what
signicantly explained variance, overall these numbers
are very similar. Motives that have been previously
used to measure and explain live attendance at sport-
ing events explained similar amounts of variance in
attendance at eSport events.
Prior research has not explicitly measured the
relationship between the MSSC or SII and game
attendance frequency. Yet Fink et al. (2002) found
sport consumers’ motives to be signicant predictors
of behavioral outcomes, including game attendance
frequency. Results for traditional sport indicated
that interest in sport, interest in player, drama, and
wholesome environment were signicant predictors of
game attendance frequency. For sport-themed eSport,
interest in sport, excitement, interest in player, role
model, and enjoyment of aggression were signicant
predictors of game attendance frequency. For RTS
eSport, vicarious achievement, entertainment value,
family bonding, and physical skill of the athletes were
found to be signicant predictors of game attendance
frequency.
Similar to the current study ndings, Fink et al.
(2002) found that environmental factors (e.g., family
and social factors) positively aect game attendance
intentions. Funk, Ridinger, and Moorman (2003)
measured the relationship between the SII motives
and consumer support, a composite variable that
included behavioral items such as game attendance
frequency, as well as interest in women’s professional
sport, television game watching frequency and level
of commitment to a team. Funk et al. (2003) found
that the signicant SII motives inuencing consumer
support are interest in team, escape, aesthetics, drama,
socialization, role model, interest in sport, vicarious
achievement, support for women’s opportunity, and
interest in players. e ndings of Funk et al. (2003)
are in line with the current study’s ndings that sport
spectators have distinct consumption behaviors that
vary by context.
While no motive was found to be signicant across
all three contexts, traditional sport and sport-themed
eSport shared more motives that inuenced game
attendance frequency than any other context pair.
Interest in sport and interest in player were signif-
icant predictors of game attendance frequency for
both traditional sport and sport-themed eSport. is
highlights commonality between the two, suggesting
that sport-themed eSport spectators may behave more
similarly to traditional sport spectators than do spec-
tators of other types of eSport. Given the distinct sets
of motives inuencing the patterns of spectators’ game
attendance frequency from each context, the second
hypothesis was not supported.
Results address the divide between those who do or
do not regard eSports as sport. Specically, the use of
skill by both eSport and traditional sport athletes is
shown to be a salient motive for all spectators. In con-
trast, Hamari and Sjöblom (2017) did not nd athlete
skill to be a signicant spectator motive. eir study
examined spectator motives for all eSports collectively,
which may fail to capture nuances among dierent eS-
ports. Furthermore, the current research adds to prior
research that discussed eSport as sport (e.g., Hilvoorde
& Pot 2016; Holt, 2016; Jenny et al., 2017; Jonasson &
iborg, 2010; Witkowski, 2012), moving the discus-
sion forward from a consumer behavior perspective.
e shared motive patterns of traditional sport and
eSport spectators demonstrates that these groups of
spectators are motivated to spectate similarly.
Overall, results indicate a high degree of similarity
between motives of traditional sport and eSport
spectators, suggesting that eSport events can be viewed
and marketed in a similar fashion to traditional sport
events. Yet, distinct motives inuence the behavioral
Volume 27 • Number 2 • 2018 • Sport Marketing Quarterly 119
outcome of game attendance frequency for spectators
of each sport event. e current study also advances
the discussion on eSport as sport, highlighting how
components of traditional sport typically considered
missing from eSports (e.g., physical skill of athletes)
still serve as motives for eSport consumption.
eoretical Implications
Sport marketing scholars have established the impor-
tance of spectator motives on game and event atten-
dance, with individuals attending for dierent reasons
and desiring dierent aspects of the experience (e.g.,
Robinson et al., 2005; Trail, Robinson, et al., 2003).
Research on sport consumer motives has provided
valuable insight in understanding sport consumption
behaviors (Trail & Kim, 2011) and identied that these
motives are also a central predictor of sport con-
sumption decisions (Trail, Fink, & Anderson, 2003).
Common motives include vicarious achievement,
drama, excitement, entertainment value, and social
opportunities (Funk et al., 2001; Milne & McDonald,
1999; Trail & James, 2001).
eSport represents a new area for study in sport
consumer behavior (Funk, 2017). Understanding
whether eSport operates similarly to traditional sport
is key to developing appropriate marketing strategies
for the eSport industry and can inform academic
research in this rapidly-growing area (e.g., Funk et al.,
2018; Hallmann & Giel, 2018; Heere, 2018). If eSports
and traditional sports are consumed in order to satisfy
the same spectator motives, existing theoretical and
practical approaches to sport consumer behavior are
likely applicable to both. e current study compared
traditional sport spectator motives to eSport spectator
motives to better understand the behavior of eSport
consumers and explore the extent to which eSport
consumer behavior operates similarly to traditional
sport consumer behavior.
Results indicated a number of similarities and a few
dierences between eSport consumption motives and
those found with a traditional sport. Most notably,
athlete skill, a motive identied in multiple traditional
sport contexts (James & Ross, 2004), was rated higher
for both eSport contexts than for the traditional sport,
and was signicantly higher for the RTS game than
for the traditional sport. e lack of applied skills of
eSport players is one of the most common rationales
for excluding eSports as sport (Jenny et al., 2017). Yet,
the current study demonstrates that the appreciation
of the skills needed to perform in competitive eSport
competitions is a signicant attendance motive, at or
beyond the level observed in traditional sport.
e current study adds to the body of sport mar-
keting literature, specically on the role of spectator
motives in sport consumption. Results contribute to
academic understanding of what motives play a role in
eSport consumption compared to those of traditional
sport. Guided by the study results, eSport researchers
can draw from established theory from traditional
sport, while remaining cognizant of distinct motives
inuencing eSport consumers.
Results of the current study are consistent with
motivation as a guiding force on behavior (e.g., Hebb,
1955; Deci, 1971). Sport management research has em-
phasized that motivation is a central predictor of sport
consumption (Trail et al., 2003). Moreover, the current
study supports the proposition of Yoshida and Heere
(2015), that motivation is a universally-applicable
construct. e current study substantiates their prop-
osition by examining the role of established motives
in an international context (i.e., South Korea), nding
established sport consumption motives signicantly
correlated with game attendance frequency for both
eSport and a traditional sport.
Furthermore, the current study provides a foun-
dation for future research on eSport by highlighting
the similarities between eSport and traditional sport
consumption. ese similarities include motives of
interest in sport, interest in player, aesthetics, social
opportunities, drama, role model, entertainment
value, wholesome environment, acquisition of knowl-
edge, skill of the athletes, and enjoyment of aggression.
Yet, while eSport and traditional sport spectators share
many common motives, eSport and traditional sport
spectators are not identically motivated. For instance,
spectators of eSport nd eSport events signicantly
more exciting, highlighting that eSport and traditional
sport spectators are highly similar, but not identical.
Research on the motivation of eSport spectators to
attend and consume eSports is emerging as a salient
area of inquiry for sport management scholars. e
current study expands upon the conceptual work of
Funk et al. (2018), which emphasized that traditional
sport management research can inform eSport related
research. e current study informs eSport motivation
research by demonstrating that eSport operates simi-
larly to traditional sport and identies the nuances of
eSport consumer behavior, extending sport manage-
ment research into eSport. is perspective is support-
ed by conceptual work emphasizing that eSport shares
many of the core managerial concerns present in
traditional sport (Funk et al., 2018; Hallmann & Giel,
2018; Heere, 2018), with the current study empirically
demonstrating similarities in their consumption.
Practical Implications
From a sport management perspective, this research
provides a foundation and introduction of eSport into
120 Volume 27 • Number 2 • 2018 • Sport Marketing Quarterly
the discipline. eSport is becoming more accepted as
sport within the larger sport community, with many
sport organizations purchasing eSport teams and
leagues (PWC, 2016). e Philadelphia 76ers pur-
chased two eSports teams, using existing sta to assist
in their operations (Hietner, 2016). Investment group
aXiomatic, which is led by the organization that owns
the Golden State Warriors, Washington Capitals, and
Los Angeles football club, recently purchased a con-
trolling interest in a major eSports team, Team Liquid
(Gu, 2016). e National Basketball Association (NBA)
and Take-Two Interactive, the parent company of 2K
Sports, recently announced the formation of the NBA
2K eLeague, which is reported to be the rst ocial eS-
ports league operated by a U.S. sports league (Nathan,
2017). e French Professional Football League, Ligue
1, recently created an equivalent league for eSports,
e-Ligue 1, with 20 of its traditional football clubs each
sponsoring two FIFA eSport players (SkySports, 2016).
Sport organizations are leveraging their core compe-
tencies managing and marketing traditional sports to
eSports.
e demographic characteristics of our survey
participants are consistent with industry reports on
eSport. Survey participant demographics highlight
that eSports appeal to both young males and females.
Males had greater representation at both eSports
events—78% for FIFA Online 3 and 72% for StarCra
II. However, the spectator demographics challenge
prevailing stereotypes of eSports as a male-dominated
activity. Females comprise one of the fastest growing
market segments for eSports (Paaßen, Morgenroth, &
Stratemeyer, 2016), and the motives of female spec-
tators oer a salient area of inquiry for eSport event
marketing and management.
e results of this study are particularly useful to
those organizing the growing number of eSport events.
Marketers of eSport events can apply the results of
the current research to better understand what drives
spectatorship for eSport events. Event marketers can
build on the shared motives between traditional and
eSport spectators, while acknowledging the nuances
among dierent types of eSports. Marketing profes-
sionals can select the most applicable motives and
develop targeted marketing messages to potential
event spectators. e excitement of eSport events were
rated higher than those of traditional sports, and mar-
keting promotions should appeal to the enthusiasm
of eSport spectators. Aesthetics, the successful plays
and strategies executed by players, are also motivating
to eSport spectators. Promoters can target spectators
by emphasizing the skill of top eSport players. Fur-
thermore, the drama of eSport events should also be
emphasized by event marketers. eSport spectators
enjoy close matches rather than one-sided victories,
similar to fans of traditional sport (Funk et al., 2001).
Overall, the results show how eSport motives function
similarly to a traditional sport.
While one traditional sport (i.e., soccer) does not
exhaustively represent all sports, it is a popular global
sport, used to identify the extent to which traditional
sport and eSports are consumed in similar ways
and are based on shared motives. is implication is
important, as it suggests that existing sport marketing
literature can be adapted and modied to examine
eSport consumer behavior. However, cultural dier-
ences regarding perceptions towards video gaming
must be considered. For South Koreans, gaming is
viewed as a social activity, in contrast to Westerners,
who view it as a solitary hobby (Li, 2016). Yet, in-
creasing support for acceptance of gaming as a social
activity is increasing in Western cultures (PWC, 2016),
evident in traditional sport entities increasing align-
ment with the eSports industry (Funk et al., 2018).
e nal implication of the current study is on
eSport as sport. e current work addresses and nar-
rows the divide between eSport and traditional sport.
Past debates on eSport as sport have focused on the
lack of applied skill in eSport as a distinction between
the two. e current study shows that the skill of
eSport players attracts spectators. Just as promotional
advertisements marketing a big-name professional
athlete coming to a local arena attracts fans (Lucifora
& Simmons, 2003), results show that eSport spectators,
too, enjoy seeing the best players in action with an
appreciation for their talent.
Limitations and Future Directions
Six limitations to this research should be recognized.
First, data collection was conducted solely in South
Korea, among traditional sport and eSport spectators.
Caution should be exercised when generalizing the
results to other settings, given that individual pref-
erences, motivations, and behaviors are inuenced
by geographic and cultural context (Hofstede, 2001).
South Korea has a well-established eSport culture
that may inuence how eSport is viewed in relation
to traditional sport (Lee & Schoenstedt, 2011). Rep-
lication in other countries is necessary to determine
whether results of the current study are a byproduct
of the South Korean context. Second, the current
study predominantly focused on games related to a
single sport (i.e., soccer). While a second eSport game,
StarCra II, was incorporated into the research design,
eSports span a variety of dierent forms or genres,
including sport-themed games (e.g., FIFA Online 3),
RTS games (e.g., StarCra II), multiplayer online battle
Volume 27 • Number 2 • 2018 • Sport Marketing Quarterly 121
arena (MOBA) games (e.g., League of Legends, Defense
of the Ancients 2), rst-person shooters (e.g., Count-
er-Strike: Global Oensive), and ghting games (e.g.,
Super Smash Brothers). Future research with other
eSport genres is necessary to enhance external validity
of the results.
ird, this study focused on a single psychological
factor (i.e., spectator motivation) known to inuence
game attendance frequency. Incorporating additional
variables, including sport involvement and identica-
tion with sport could be benecial for future research.
Motivation factors in the current study were drawn
from two scales (SII and MSSC), both of which are
broad and well-established in the sport management
literature. However, spectators may be motivated by
additional factors beyond the 15 measured in the
current study. Furthermore, all items were drawn
from scales developed in the context of traditional
sport. eSports may involve additional context-specic
motivational factors that are not present in traditional
sport. Inclusion of such additional factors needs to be
considered in future research to better explain game
attendance frequency and additional consumption
behaviors. Distinct factors, such as peer pressure and
video game graphics could play a role in consumption
(Lee & Schoenstedt, 2011). Future research should
consider what other motives are distinct to specic
eSports.
Fourth, single-item measures were used to capture
spectator motives. Single-item measures can be accept-
able for accurately measuring a construct (Rossiter,
2002), but multiple items could provide increased
validity. Multi-item measures could also permit
advanced statistical techniques, such as structural
equation modelling. e h limitation is the number
of survey responses excluded from analysis due to
respondent straight-lining (Herzog & Bachman, 1981).
While the survey design was intended to minimize
such behavior through the use of a relatively short
survey instrument, the number of discarded responses
requires acknowledgement.
e sixth limitation is the possibility of selection
bias, specically self-selection bias, existed between
our survey respondents and non-respondents (i.e.,
those who refused to take the survey). Self-selec-
tion bias occurs when proper randomization is not
achieved (Heckman, 1979). Self-selection bias is
unavoidable in scientic research and is acknowledged
as a limitation of the current study.
Future research should account for consumers level
of involvement with particular eSport games, leagues,
and marquee gamers. e current study examined the
direct eects of spectator motivation on attendance
and game attendance frequency. Additionally, the
current study used a survey-based research design.
Qualitative or mixed-methods approaches could
oer additional insight into the eSport spectator
experience and identify additional motives that drive
eSport consumption. Finally, media representations of
eSports are positioning eSport as sport, applying sport
terms, such as athlete, competition, team, and rivalry
to describe eSports. e ESPN website includes a
dedicated eSports section with the same level of menu
bar prominence as well-accepted sports such as golf,
tennis, boxing, MMA, NASCAR, the Olympic Games,
and NCAA basketball. Future research should explore
media representations of eSport and the inuence on
consumer perceptions of eSport as sport.
Ackowledgements
e authors would like to acknowledge the Sport
Industry Research Center (SIRC) at Temple University
for its support of this research project.
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... Several antecedents were identified: demand ("consumers' expectations towards the features and attributes of the core product"; Qian et al., 2019b, p. 3), flow experience , emotional engagement (Lim et al., 2020), motivation (Brown et al., 2017;Cabeza-Ram ırez et al., 2020;Hamari and Sj€ oblom, 2017;Hilvert-Bruce et al., 2018;Kim and Kim, 2020;Ma et al., 2021;Pizzo et al., 2018;Qian et al., 2019aQian et al., , 2020Rogers et al., 2022;Sj€ oblom et al., , 2020Tang et al., 2022;Wulf et al., 2018;Xiao, 2020), need (competence, autonomy and relatedness; Qian et al., 2022), parasocial relationship (Lim et al., 2020;Wulf et al., 2018;Xu et al., 2021b), push and pull factors (Qian et al., 2020), sports fandom (Tang et al., 2022), SOR framework , structural factors (Brown et al., 2017;Cabeza-Ram ırez et al., 2020;Hamari and Sj€ oblom, 2017;Jang et al., 2021b;Kim and Kim, 2020;Ma et al., 2021;Qian et al., 2019b;Tang et al., 2022;Wulf et al., 2018;Xiao, 2020;Xu et al., 2021a), self-perception as a player, professional esports team/streamer identification (Cabeza-Ram ırez et al., 2020;Jang et al., 2021b;Lim et al., 2020;Qian et al., 2019b) and subjective well-being . Other psychological constructs were identified as antecedents: broadcaster appeal, medium appeal, perceived co-viewer involvement, arousal, cognitive involvement (Xu et al., 2021a), broadcaster attractiveness, bullet-screen interaction, positive emotion (Xu et al., 2021b). ...
... This has also been suggested to a varying degree in the 24 papers. Researchers asked for investigating differences in Twitch user profiles (Cabeza-Ram ırez et al., 2020), esports game genres (Hilvert-Bruce et al., 2018;Kim and Kim, 2020;Ma et al., 2021;Pizzo et al., 2018;Qian et al., 2019a, b;Rogers et al., 2022;Sj€ oblom et al., 2020), across cultures (Hilvert-Bruce et al., 2018;Ma et al., 2021;Qian et al., 2019a;Sj€ oblom et al., 2020;Tang et al., 2022), across genders (Hilvert-Bruce et al., 2018;Ma et al., 2021;Qian et al., 2019a;Rogers et al., 2022), generations (Ma et al., 2021) and the number of years considering oneself as esports fan (prior esports experience, Jang et al., 2021a;casual andenthusiast/die-hard, Qian et al., 2019a, 2020). Therefore, gender disparity should be addressed as well as capturing major markets to provide a more comprehensive understanding (Qian et al., 2019b;Tang et al., 2022) and global perspective (Rogers et al., 2022). ...
... Service usage habits and subscription behavior are new topics and outcome variables to be looked at in esports research (Sj€ oblom and . Structural factors such as peer pressure, video game graphics, devices and other factors being distinct to esports should be taken into account (Pizzo et al., 2018). Since the esports market is growing globally but differently, the structural factors differ between the markets. ...
Article
Purpose Esports is rapidly growing in popularity and viewership. The study's purpose was threefold: (1) to provide a systematic review and synthesis of esports spectatorship research. (2) to provide a reference for the psychology of consumer behavior in esports live streaming and esports event attendance. (3) to deliver a clear picture of the factors that impact consumer behavior in esports online and on-site consumption. Design/methodology/approach The study systematically reviews motivational aspects of online and on-site spectatorship using the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis Protocols (PRISMA). SCOPUS and Google Scholar were selected as social science databases. Twenty-five papers met the inclusion criteria: (1) published between 2000 and 2022, (2) empirical investigation, (3) focus on online and/or on-site esports spectatorship/events. Five papers implemented randomization to assess common method bias. Findings Twenty-five papers qualified for subsequent analysis. The papers were mostly quantitative. They included a theoretical framework and investigated online esports spectatorship. Significant antecedents for motivation to watch esports online and/or on-site were fanship, tension release, entertainment, escaping everyday life and unique features like chat and direct communication. No consensus was found concerning similarities or differences between online and on-site esports spectatorship and traditional sports spectatorship. Originality/value This research contributed to a new theoretical, methodological and practical agenda. A more comparative approach analyzing contextual, structural and demographic cues could lead to a holistic picture of esports spectator motivation.
... The authors pointed out that rather than being a limit to the inclusion of esport in sports studies, this lack of aesthetic motives represents an opportunity for game developers to propose content and games that focus on that element to attract new spectators. Pizzo et al. (2018) conducted a similar study one year later, comparing motivations for esport consumption and sport consumption, leading to similar results. ...
... Marketing researchers have also focused on sport and esport (Hamari and Sjöblom, 2017;Pizzo et al., 2018;Andrews and Ritzer, 2018;Scholz, 2019) or solely on esport (Seo, 2013(Seo, , 2015Scholz, 2019). In 2013, Seo explained how esport marketing could represent a new marketing landscape for the experience economy, with his findings showing how "collaborative efforts of gaming companies, players, online communities, governing bodies, and many other stakeholders play important roles in enriching and sustaining the experiential value of esport consumption" (p.1542). ...
... Even though Hamari and Sjöblom (2017) state that esport consumers do not watch esport for aesthetic motivations, Seo (2013) argues that the entire esport Championship had an opening ceremony with music, lights, dancers and singers. Hamari and Sjöblom (2017) and Pizzo et al. (2018) also highlight the educational value in esport in their studies focusing on the exploration of consumers' motivations to watch esport. Indeed, esport events can serve as knowledge gathering tools, with players watching and learning pros' movements and strategies. ...
Thesis
The sports industry seems to be embedded in the global culture to such a degree that many activities positioning or using sports elements seem to emerge every day, such as esport, competitive video games. At the same time, other activities, which have the legal status of a sport, such as chess, are mostly not considered as sports by consumers. A paradox thus seems to exist between the classification of an activity as a sport and the categorization and mental representation that consumers have of it.Based on this observation, the first objective of this research is to understand and measure the elements that influence the perception of leisure activities as sports by consumers. This measurement, called perceived sportivity, is carried out through an initial historical and sociological review of the concept of sport. We go back to its origin and analyze its evolution to understand its components and influences. Then, based on a series of qualitative and quantitative studies, we develop a measurement instrument to measure this perception and categorization as a sport by consumers. This measurement instrument consists of 8 items divided into two dimensions called physicality (5 items) and equipment (3 items).Once this instrument measuring perceived sportivity has been created and validated from a convergent and discriminating point of view, but also within a nomological network, we propose to test it in two contexts. First, we test the effects of perceived sportivity in a field study. This field study uses one of the most-watched and most-played video games in the world: League of Legends. In this field study, we test and confirm the effects of perceived sportivity on brand perception, i.e. brand personality, brand identification, and perceived brand legitimacy. Finally, we also measure and confirm the influence of brand perception on 3 variables: consumer engagement, perceived value, and purchase intention. These results are then replicated in an experiment where the two dimensions of sportivity are manipulated through visual and textual stimuli.
... Past studies have emphasized the role of collaboration (Williams et al., 2021), experience-based tacit knowledge (Pizzo et al., 2022), and educational governing body (DeArmond et al., 2022) in the success of the eSports industry. Based on excitement, physical attractiveness, vicarious achievement, and family boding, eSports is unique from traditional sports, and their spectators follow different motives (Pizzo et al., 2018). The extant literature has also claimed that socialization, immersion gamification (Qian et al., 2022), skill improvement, vicarious sensation (Qian et al., 2020), the presence of star players, team loyalty, flow experiences, and self-congruity with event image (Thompson et al., 2022) positively affect spectators attendance of live streaming of eSports. ...
... Therefore, it is evident that the motivation behind these two sports might be different. Thus, it is theoretically critical to enrich the eSports psychology literature by understanding the players' motives and factors for playing online games (Pizzo et al., 2018). ...
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This study examined the factors that affect the attitude and behavioral intentions toward electronic sports (eSports) among students of higher education institutions based on the technology acceptance model (TAM). The conditional impact of preventive regulatory focus was analyzed in various aspects developed on the regulatory focus theory. These aspects comprised of perceived usefulness, perceived ease of use, and perceived risk on the attitude toward eSports. Accordingly, data were collected from 293 students of higher education institutions in China's Henan Province, presenting a 54.56% response rate. The PLS-SEM analysis was subsequently implemented to confirm the proposed hypotheses. The empirical findings confirmed the significant positive impact of perceived usefulness and perceived ease of use on the attitude toward eSports. However, perceived risk negatively affected the attitude toward eSports. Meanwhile, the findings on the moderating hypotheses found a negligible impact on preventive regulatory focus. This impact was found explicitly on the perceived usefulness-perceived ease of use link with attitude toward eSports. However, the preventive regulatory focus negatively moderated the perceived risk attitude toward eSports. Finally, the implication and limitations were illustrated at the end of the paper.
... Social media, television, and the internet are all effective tools for disseminating this type of news and information. Numerous markers may be employed to track these activities (Pizzo et al., 2018). For instance, this can elicit responses from athletes regarding whether the sports event is publicized on time, whether the information promotes a competitive environment or increases the efficiency of sports clubs (Friesen et al., 2020), the extent to which and how this is done, and whether player data is available. ...
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Volunteers in sports, full-time employees, trainers, coaches, and administrative support personnel all have varying degrees of commitment to their careers and organizations. Athletes are encouraged to participate actively in sports by coaches, parents, and trainers. This benefits players by promoting physical fitness and a healthy lifestyle to increase international and local collaboration. A sports organization comprises a championship, players, managing board, local cooperation, leagues, sports clubs, and men's and women's teams that oversee and conduct the organization's activities. Whether temporary or permanent, sports organizations are tasked with the responsibility of safeguarding the rights of their members. The research design was chosen to collect data using a combination of purposive sampling and snowball sampling. Purposive sampling enabled researchers to select respondents familiar with the requisite degree of knowledge. A questionnaire was used to obtain the data. Fifty respondents took part in this study. Out of 50 responders, 35 were male, and 15 were female. SEM PLS 3.3.7v was used to evaluate the collected data. The findings demonstrated a high positive correlation between the factors.
... To better understand esports, scholars have drawn parallels between sport and esports consumers as a way of making sense (or sensemaking) of them and their novelty . This line of scholarship finds that consumers of each share many similar consumption motives to watch (spectate) and play (participate) in competitive video gaming (e.g., Pizzo et al., 2018;Byon, 2020, 2021;Qian et al., 2020;Tang et al., 2020). While the role and status of esports as a form of sport (or not) will likely always be debated Scholz et al., 2021), there are substantial economic (Scelles et al., 2021), managerial (e.g., team and player management), operational (e.g., event hosting), and marketing (e.g., team rivalries) similarities between them . ...
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Esports, competitive video game competitions, are a leading digital innovation at the nexus of sports, business, and technology. Given their prominent position, esports have received extensive media and academic attention. In particular, esports fans, primarily tech-savvy and affluent young adults, have been the foci of this attention. Accordingly, a large number of studies has centered on these influential consumers, examining their motives to spectate, support, and follow esports teams and players. To date, esports have been examined very broadly, neglecting differences in the multitude of games, genres, and platforms which influence their consumption. In particular, the platform (or medium), plays a substantial role in how consumers engage with esports teams and players. These platforms include personal computers (PCs) and video gaming consoles. The purpose of this study is to identify differences in how fans of PC and console based esports teams engage with their favorite esports team. We collected data from both PC and console esports team fans via an online survey (N=514), analyzing said data using structural equation modeling and multigroup analysis. Our results highlight that fans of console-based esports teams value both emotional engagement and management cooperation, underscoring the more intimate and personal experience afforded by consoles (vis-à-vis PCs). Overall, our study elucidates differences in esports fan engagement and helps to further identify critical differences that influence esports consumer behavior.
... The research of Esports behavior thus far has been mostly revolved around the motivations for consumption (e.g., [32,[54][55][56][57]), and only a few have incorporated a predictive element into their studies (e.g., [58,59]). Therefore, with the utilization of TPB, this study intends to continue this line of research and to further expand the work on Esports behaviors through an established behavioral theory. ...
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Esports have grown to become a core part of popular culture in many countries, including Hong Kong. Albeit the low participation rates in Esports in Hong Kong, it was starting to gain traction, yet the local Esports advocates were experiencing challenges in promoting and popularizing the Esport. Hence, the current study was aimed to identify and reveal the determinants of participating in Esports, as well as strengthen the work on Esports behaviors using the theory of planned behavior (TPB), a reliable and valid prominent theory in predicting human behavior across a plethora of contexts, ranging from health-related behaviors to sport consumption behaviors. In the current study, the convenience sampling method was used to recruit over 2000 students (secondary school, N = 1567 ( female = 615 ); university students, N = 1525 ( female = 255 ). The students were invited to participate in the survey for collecting their perception on Esports participation using TPB-based questionnaire. Results were analyzed using theoretical analysis and structural equation modeling (SEM). The results show that both secondary school and university students have positive attitudes toward Esports. The outcomes indicated that participating in Esports develops social networks, and people with professional Esports’ skills capability and being fortitude tend to be models of Esports participation. However, inadequate resources are a significant barrier to participation in the Esports business. The SEM model verified that the variables of intention in Esports participation among the students in Hong Kong with an adequate goodness of fit index. As a whole, the current study has identified the factors and determinants of Esports’ intention and behavior among Hong Kong students, which were successfully displayed in terms of the theory of planned behavior. In addition, the findings are expected to provide the Hong Kong government with a documented framework to advocate Esports-related policies on a long-term basis.
... E-sport is a sports development that utilizes technological advances so that it becomes a sport that is different from other sports in the implementation, competition, and coaching that is carried out (Summerley, 2020). Pizzo et al., (2018) revealed that e-sport is part of the latest sports with video game technology media. It was further explained that if the interest and audience of e-sports matches are not as exciting as other sports, then high management, marketing, and professionalism are needed for e-sports to be similar or the same as other sports. ...
Article
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... Technology and sport have become increasingly dependent on each other during the COVID-19 period. The authors of this manuscript and others (e.g., Readwrite., 2018;Pizzo et al., 2018;Proman, 2019;Reitman et al., 2019;Finch et al., 2020) predict that technology will exponentially increase in the coming years create boundless opportunities for progressive leaders in sport management. This scenario may be especially true for those who embrace start-up industries in sport (e.g., esport), which will use technology to keep fixed costs low and penetrate emerging markets (Finch et al., 2020). ...
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COVID-19 disrupted the world, and the impacts have been experienced in many areas, including sport and higher education. Sport management academicians need to reflect on the past two years' experience, determine what worked and what did not work, and avoid the temptation of automatically returning to past practices. The authors of this manuscript applied the disruption literature and propose transformative changes in what sport management academicians teach (e.g., greater emphasis on innovation, entrepreneurship, automation, critical thinking skills to facilitate working in flexible environments and across areas), how colleagues teach (e.g., heightened integration of technology, blended learning models) and where colleagues teach (on-campus and distal delivery modes, asynchronous and synchronous delivery to students on campus and across regions/countries). Examples of start-up companies and entrepreneurial ventures are offered to help illustrate the changing sports landscape and the emerging opportunities for current and future students, graduates, and professors. Sport management professors are offered some suggestions to assist them in seizing this opportunity.
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Book
I: Background.- 1. An Introduction.- 2. Conceptualizations of Intrinsic Motivation and Self-Determination.- II: Self-Determination Theory.- 3. Cognitive Evaluation Theory: Perceived Causality and Perceived Competence.- 4. Cognitive Evaluation Theory: Interpersonal Communication and Intrapersonal Regulation.- 5. Toward an Organismic Integration Theory: Motivation and Development.- 6. Causality Orientations Theory: Personality Influences on Motivation.- III: Alternative Approaches.- 7. Operant and Attributional Theories.- 8. Information-Processing Theories.- IV: Applications and Implications.- 9. Education.- 10. Psychotherapy.- 11. Work.- 12. Sports.- References.- Author Index.
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Videogames present deep challenges for traditional concepts of sport and games. Cybersport in particular suggests that sport might be transposed into digital arenas, and videogames in general provide apparently striking counterexamples to the orthodox Suitsian theory of games, seeming to lack strictly prelusory goals and perhaps even also constitutive rules. I argue as follows: (1) if any cybersports count as genuine sports, it will be those most closely resembling uncontroversial core instances of sport, those that essentially involve gross motor skill. Even so, we might reject cybersports as sport by distinguishing physical skills’ domain of execution from their domain of application, sport implying the non-virtual status of both. (2) Although, like chess, videogames appear to lack prelusory goals, chess conventions and nominal descriptions of the object of any videogame suggest the possibility of Suitsian compliance, as does the inclusion of ‘cheat codes’ in videogame programming. Perhaps such sports and games are so ultimately only in a derivative sense, where the non-actual domains merely represent game-independent states of affairs. Still, the more virtual environments come to be seen as normal, the more such distinctions will appear arbitrary. If the world is already a text, it may soon become a digitized one.