Esports Scholarship Review: Synthesis, Contributions, and Future Research

in Journal of Sport Management
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  • 1 School of Business, La Salle University, Philadelphia, PA, USA
  • | 2 Department of Kinesiology, University of Georgia, Athens, GA, USA
  • | 3 Human Resource Management and Organizational Behavior, University of Siegen, Siegen, Germany
  • | 4 Department of Sport and Recreation Management, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA, USA
  • | 5 Faculty of Information Technology and Communication Sciences, Tampere University, Tampere, Finland
  • | 6 School of Business & Public Management, West Chester University, West Chester, PA, USA
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Esports, or competitive video gaming competitions, bring together aspects of sports, business, leisure, technology, and digital media, appealing to academics across multiple disciplines. Yet, esports scholarship remains highly fragmented, with scholars operating within traditional academic silos and forgoing opportunities to build on esports’ interdisciplinary nature. The purpose of this integrative review is to synthesize esports scholarship from across disciplines, identify critical scholarly issues, and develop a pragmatic, interdisciplinary research agenda. We find that extant esports scholarship is categorized by literature seeking to conceptualize and legitimize esports via sport parallels, with a focus on the consumers and culture of esports. Scholarly issues include researchers examining esports in their respective academic silos, omitting opportunities to connect conceptually similar streams of literature. Overall, we synthesize esports scholarship, bridge chasms between disjointed streams of literature, and outline a pragmatic research agenda which could benefit from interdisciplinary inquiries based on a shared understanding of esports.

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