Jesse Sell, ‘15: “E-sports Broadcasting Conventions”

In this work, Jesse Sell situates e-sports broadcasting within the larger sports media industrial complex, discusses e-sportscasters, and investigates the economics behind the growing e-sports industry.

E-sports, often referred to as competitive or professional gaming, stands at the intersection of geek and jock culture. As a prime example of the merger of work and play, a growing body of literature has started focusing on this pastime turned profession. As more professionals enter the scene and audiences continue to grow, e-sports broadcasters look towards older models of broadcasting to inform their own style. This reapplication of former conventions stands in contrast to the trends in the larger sports media trajectory. E-sports broadcasting is largely informed by traditional sports broadcasting, yet remains unable to fully capture the success of the global sports industry. On-air talent, once informed solely by traditional sportscasters are now looking to their fellow e-sportscasters to create something new. Revenue streams which form the foundation of the sports industry are making their way into e-sports but not in the way that one might expect. Through a variety of qualitative methods, including historical analysis, interviews, and fieldwork, Sell has investigated e-sports broadcasting to better evaluate the role traditional sports broadcasting has played in shaping the e-sports industry. This work looks not only to what e-sports broadcasters have borrowed from prior sports media, but also where they have innovated. Even with the potential of live-streaming as a new medium, e-sports broadcasters have started to resemble their traditional sports counterparts to a significant degree.

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