How About Playing Games as a Career? The Evolution of E-Sports in the Eyes of Mainstream Media and Public Relations

in International Journal of Sport Communication
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This paper examined the media and public relations coverage of e-sport in China over a 17-yr period, focusing on how the representations of e-sport as a fast-growing industry have changed in China during that time. With the theoretical underpinning of media framing, the study used content analysis and examined 400 e-sport-related reports. Specifically, it investigated the tone of coverage, the topic emphasis of e-sport-related stories, and the use of jargon and statistics in the reports. In general, findings indicated that both mainstream media and public relations gradually covered e-sport issues in a more positive way as time went by. Similar to reporting on traditional sports, the topic emphasis changed from nongame issues to player and team performance in the contemporary climate. The findings highlight the importance of live-streaming platforms in e-sport development and suggest that more traditional-sport-styled media coverage of e-sport might benefit the industry. Finally, the study calls for an evaluation of media e-sport coverage in different cultural contexts and comparisons between e-sport’s and traditional sports’ representation in the contemporary media climate.

Hou and Yang, both doctoral students, are with the College of Communication and Information Sciences, and Panek, their advisor, the Dept. of Journalism & Creative Media, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL.

Hou (jhou7@crimson.ua.edu) is corresponding author.
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