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Returning for skill or popularity? The demand for esports match replay

Wenche Wang (Sport Management, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA)

International Journal of Sports Marketing and Sponsorship

ISSN: 1464-6668

Article publication date: 2 December 2022

Issue publication date: 3 April 2023




Among scholarly analyses of sport demand, few have considered the demand for match replays despite replays' indispensable role in sport broadcasts. Different from live matches, viewers of match replays generally have access to match outcomes. Outcome uncertainty is thus less relevant in attracting viewers. This paper addresses this research gap by analyzing the demand for replays of competitive esports matches.


We collected match replay data for two competitive esports leagues, CrossFire Pro League and King Pro League, from two Chinese esports online platforms, and Drawing on two economic theories of superstar effects—a skilled-based theory and a popularity-based theory, we performed regression analyses and dominance analyses to examine the demand for esports match replays.


Our results indicated skill to be more important in the demand for tactical games while non-skill-popularity is more instrumental in attracting viewers to replays of leisurely games. The platform with knowledge-sharing features also exhibited a stronger skill impact for tactical games.


Findings contribute to the understanding of sport match replays and offer implications for esports organizers and broadcasters to market games effectively.



Wang, W. (2023), "Returning for skill or popularity? The demand for esports match replay", International Journal of Sports Marketing and Sponsorship, Vol. 24 No. 2, pp. 295-310.



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