Live vs Remote – what motivates esports audiences to show up? #PSYCHOLOGY


Neus, F., Nimmermann, F., Wagner, K., & Schramm-Klein, H. (2019, January). Differences and similarities in motivation for offline and online eSports event consumption. In Proceedings of the 52nd Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences. [ACCESS)


ESports is a rising phenomenon that attracts followers worldwide. Recently, big eSports events are hosted regularly as a counterpart to the “traditional” online streams. However, the differences between offline and online consumption have not been scientifically addressed. Based on the Motivation Scale for Sports Consumption (MSSC), on-site visitors and stream followers (N = 637) of a big eSports event were surveyed. By analyzing the motives for eSports consumption of these two groups, insights about users following one specific broadcast form were derived and success factors (e.g. intention to visit) were assessed. While on-site attendees are motivated by social aspects, online participants seek knowledge gain and are interested in details of the gameplay. Escape and drama motivation are equally important for both groups. The findings give new insights in the field of eSports and help practitioners develop live experiences of eSports online as well as offline.The article concludes with a great reflection on its limitations, covering the demographic of participants (mostly male) and the specificity of the game – others might have quite different audiences.

The Data

637 participants were surveyed, 155 of which were at an on-site esports event (EU (LCS 2018 League of Legends Event in Berlin organized by Riot Games) 34,9% female, age M = 22.73) and 482 were online (86.9% male, age M = 21.01).


“the overall attitude towards the event manifests on a different level and is not directly determined by the chosen form of consumption.”

“the atmosphere and surrounding factors (e.g. form of broadcast in the arena) have a more positive influence on the level of satisfaction than the surrounding factors of online consumption”

“Offline participants would tend to participate again, whereas the results show that online participants would continue to stick to the stream only.”

Our Take on it

Do online and live esports audiences vary in motivation and behaviours? Yes, but less than you might think. For esports event organizers, understanding how audiences vary is crucial to catering for their needs and this article goes some way to explaining where there are overlaps and a need for differentiation. There are some great nuggets, such as the fact that live audiences will likely consume the online content after the event, but online audiences are less likely to do this. Alternatively, it shows that the presumed social value of being a live spectator may not be as great as one might imagine. This may be because online audiences also feel like they are in a social setting, even if they are not face to face. Overall, a really good study with some deep reflections and useful findings” Professor Andy Miah

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