Die-hard fans or double agents? : A quantitative study on esports fandom in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CSGO)
Sammanfattning: Esports has during the 21st century developed from an overlooked subculture into a billion-dollar industry. Across the globe, teams are competing in tournaments with large prize pools, cheered on by devoted fans. Despite this impressive scenery, there is still little knowledge on these teams and their fans. Empirical evidence suggests esports fandom is characterized by connections to multiple teams and players, however, no previous study has investigated the topic. Within traditional sports, the notion of fans as fans of a single, favorite team, which they identify with to various degrees, has been the norm. Over decades of research, scholars have discovered the origins of sports fans' team identification, and connected it to concepts such as loyalty and psychological well-being. Esports share many common characteristics with traditional sports, however, it is unknown whether the theories on sports fandom also hold up in esports. This study empirically investigates esports fans through the lens of traditional sports fans. A quantitative survey was distributed to 210 Swedish fans of the esport Counter-Strike Global Offensive (CSGO). The results showed these fans considered themselves fans of multiple teams, but they still had one favorite team. Identification with this favorite team was positively correlated with both behavioral and attitudinal loyalty, similarly to traditional sports fans. This study shows theories on traditional sports fans can be successfully applied to esports. Furthermore, the findings of this first study on esports fans provide a map of their fandom. This map has relevance for both researchers and esports teams developing their team brands.
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