The Threat of Disreputable Behaviour for Esports Sponsors
Keywords:Esports, Sponsorship, Disreputable behaviour, Market analysis, Marketing
This research aimed to determine if disreputable behaviour in esports is a threat to its sponsors. An exploratory design and a convergent-parallel mixed method with equal status were used. Esports sponsorship experts (N = 22) were interviewed via digital platforms and esports fans (N = 5,638) filled an online survey. Qualitative data was processed on NVivo 10 and quantitative on SPSS 25. The results showed that most experts consider disreputable behaviour as a threat to esports sponsors and roughly one-third of fans have developed negative feelings towards esports sponsors due to disreputable behaviour. The most brand-image threatening types of behaviours are corruption, illegal and unregulated gambling, and toxicity. Despite esports’ rapid growth, the field of esports sponsorships has received poor academic attention. Moreover, the findings are relevant for existing and potential sponsors wishing to understand how esports’ disreputable behaviour can damage their brands and how to proactively avoid this threat.
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