Psychology Subjects

Why do people watch esports? #PSYCHOLOGY


Choi, C (2019) “Understanding Media Consumption of Electronic Sports through Spectator Motivation, Using Three Different Segmentation Approaches: The Levels of Addiction, Passion, and Fan Identification” SportMont 17(1), p.3-8 [FREE OPEN ACCESS]


Electronic sports (eSports), or competitive video gaming, is a type of sport that has recently expanded its horizon from being a participatory sport to a spectator sport fueled by its wide popularity. In this regard, it is necessary to investigate why fans enjoy this new sports genre as a spectator sport. This study examines motivations of eSports spectators in different segments to gain a better understanding of the behaviors of this growing population. Specifically, this study aimed to (a) investigate eSports spectators’ motivations to discover the motives for their attachment to eSports, using eleven different factors, and (b) explore differences in motivations among levels of addiction, fan identification, and passion. An analysis of 368 eSports fans showed that they valued the Achievement and Economics factors most in watching eSports. They even experienced a sense of achievement and a certain pecuniary advantage that real sports spectators experience. In addition, the Escape factor was identified as being the most important factor in explaining a passion for eSports-watching. This study also dis- covered significant differences between the eleven spectator motives, demonstrating the effectiveness of segmentation analysis in investigating the behaviors of sports fans. In particular, the Economics and Escape factors revealed meaningful differences between groups for all segments. This study showed that eSports spectators watch this new type of sports based on motivations that are similar to those of existing sports fans; furthermore, it identified significant differences in spectator motivations depending on their level of involvement in eSports.

The Data

Using Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, 608 surveys were distributed, returning 402 (18 years+), with 368 being utilised; 68.2% males, 31.8% female; 63.9% 19-30 years old.


“the factors that motivate eSports consumers to watch eSports games were not very different from those for traditional sports”

“eSports spectators value Achievement and Economics factors the most”

“the Escape factor was exceptionally strong in explaining addiction, unlike passion and fan identification.”

the factors that motivate eSports consumers to watch eSports games were not very different from those for traditional sports”

Our Take on it

Why do people watch esports? There are lots of factors and quite a range of motivations and this study employs two recognised scales from the traditional sports sector to assess the motives of esports spectators. It’s important to understand how these scales measure motivations. After all, there may be motivations other than these found in traditional sports, which interest esports spectators. In any case, the paper provides clear insights into how we might assess what spectators value about their esports spectator experiences, from the witnessing of excellence in an endeavour they respect, to seeking to remove themselves from their daily setting into a fantasy world. Certainly, the motives vary and this may be the the most useful insight, as it might be imagined that gamers or game watchers are all similarly motivated. It turns out that they are not.” Professor Andy Miah

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