The new age of sports entertainment: how context shapes sport engagement in the MLS, NBA, NFL, and NHL
LE3 .A278 2021
Bachelor of Business Administration
Diving into the growing industry of esports and competitive video gaming, this thesis provides a case study of four of the main professional sports leagues in North America in an effort to understand what has led their esports developments to their current state. Esports refers to competitions and events that involve individuals or teams competing against one another in a video game. This research came about as a result of personal motivations and an understanding of the connections between professional sports and esports in North America. A limited amount of research in this field, and particularly inthe connections between professional sports and esports spearheaded this analysis. The study examines the four professional sports leagues in North America with developed esports scenes, specifically the MLS, NBA, NFL, and NHL. Using a multi-case study, the research analyzes the histories of the leagues, growth of the leagues, as well as their current state of both sport and esport to uncover trends and themes that seem to have the most impact on esports success. Current and former athletes, as well as owners and front-office management getting involved in esports appeared to be a constant theme among all leagues, thus it became its own point of examination. After completing the analysis of the leagues and the involvement of athletes and owners, three common factors became the most apparent in understanding what has led each esport to its current state: the focus on geographical expansion, internationalization, and the involvement of influential figures.This thesis provides evidence as to the importance of these things when explaining why some sport-related esports may be more successful than others, as well as starting a conversation for what things impact esport success with ties to professional sports and how to continue to grow the MLS, NBA, NFL, and NHL esports environments
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