Thesis Open Access
Competitive gaming, also known as “esports”, is a rapidly growing global phenomenon that is increasingly being pulled into the mainstream media spotlight with a critical hand. This paper proposes and tests the efficacy of a mitigation strategy for esports marketers when combatting the frequent negative influence of mainstream media on non-consumers’ attitudes towards esports. In order to understand the problematic communicative frameworks currently in place between consumers, non-consumers and mass-media, the paper explores whether esports marketers can utilise these various stakeholders to better inform strategies to promote esports to the wider public by engaging with two studies. First, outreach to the esports community provides context and importance to the research problem at hand whilst also putting forward negative and positive representations of esports. Second, a between-participants experiment on non-consumers is conducted to measure attitudes towards esports based off stimuli found in the first study. The findings show that the introduction of a positive stimulus can have a positive influence on attitudes towards esports, even following the negative influence of mainstream media. The paper concludes that esports marketers should take into account multiple stakeholder perspectives and use positive messaging as a means to further expand consumption of esports on a wider market.
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