The Attention Economy and Esports: An Econometric Analysis of Twitch Viewership

in Journal of Sport Management

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Nicholas M. WatanabeUniversity of South Carolina

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Hanhan XueFlorida State University

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Joshua I. NewmanFlorida State University

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Grace YanUniversity of South Carolina

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With the expansion of the esports industry, there is a growing body of literature examining the motivations and behaviors of consumers and participants. The current study advances this line of research by considering esports consumption through an economic framework, which has been underutilized in this context. Specifically, the “attention economy” is introduced as a theoretical approach—which operates with the understanding that due to increased connectivity and availability of information, it is the attention of consumers that becomes a scarce resource for which organizations must compete. Using data from the Twitch streaming platform, the results of econometric analysis further highlight the importance of structural factors in drawing attention from online viewers. As such, this research advances the theoretical and empirical understanding of online viewership behaviors, while also providing important ramifications for both esports and traditional sport organizations attempting to capture the attention of users in the digital realm.

Watanabe and Yan are with the Department of Sport and Entertainment Management, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC, USA. Xue and Newman are with the Department of Sport Management, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL, USA.

Watanabe (nmwatana@mailbox.sc.edu) is corresponding author.
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