University of Oulu

Electronic sports and traditional sports : a comparative analysis

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Author: Ha, Ngoc1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Oulu Business School, Department of Economics, Economics
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.8 MB)
Pages: 63
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Oulu : N. Ha, 2020
Publish Date: 2020-06-22
Thesis type: Master's thesis
Tutor: Korhonen, Marko
Reviewer: Korhonen, Marko
Koivuranta, Matti


This study studies the relationship between electronic sports and traditional sports in terms of economic characteristics. In recent years, electronic sports or eSports are gradually viewed as a nascent industry. The exponential growth of electronic sports has led to several studies analyzing its relation to traditional sports. In this thesis, their relationship is reviewed under economic terms. In the first chapter, industry background and history of eSports is provided. Next, the growth rate is presented in terms of revenue, audience base, prize pool, and consumer awareness. The three future scenarios of eSports are then introduced. Electronic sports are predicted to take one of the three forms: “as a counterculture or alternative to the modern sport, as part of the hegemony of sport or as the future hegemonic sport”. The feasibility of each scenario is then evaluated, and among the three, the second scenario — as part of the hegemony of sport is considered the most plausible option.

The second part of this thesis deals with the previous literature review in the field of the traditional sport. By applying the same standards and theoretical approaches, electronic sports are put under the same examination. The purpose of this chapter is to provide the structure of electronic sport by segments and types of services/ goods that eSports offer to consumers. Prior research in economics analysis on sport and recreation have classified traditional sport as a commodity. Electronic sport, in the same manner, can also be viewed as a commodity. In chapter three, economic characteristics of traditional sports and eSports are compared. One important finding that can be found in this part is the socio-economic factors that affect consumer demand for eSports. On analyzing the determinants of demand for eSports, age, gender, income, employment status are factors with the most influential impact. Time, on the other hand, is regarded as a constraint.

In the last part of the thesis, by imposing the two-stage model used by sports economists, the impact of determinants of demand on eSport participation and participation frequency are examined. To gather the data, an online survey is created, and the data is analyzed by using SPSS software (version 25.0). The result resemblances those of traditional sports in prior studies, marking the similarities between the two. One novel finding is the distinction between factors affecting demand for gaming and for eSports. Such a result rules out the inherent stigma of eSports being interchangeable to gaming. In fact, the result strengthens the previous prediction of electronic sports as part of the hegemony of sport. The thesis ends with a summary of findings, limitations of this research, and the call for further research.

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