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What makes esports consumers watch streamers' esports live-streaming contents? Extending the theory of planned behavior

Wooyoung (William) Jang (Department of Sport Management, Wellness, and Physical Education, University of West Georgia, Carrollton, Georgia, USA)
Wonjun Choi (Department of Kinesiology, University of New Hampshire, Durham, New Hampshire, USA) (Department of Sport Studies, Guilford College, Greensboro, North Carolina, USA)
Min Jung Kim (Department of Health and Sport Studies, McPherson College, McPherson, Kansas, USA)
Hyunseok Song (Department of Sport Management, Wellness, and Physical Education, University of West Georgia, Carrollton, Georgia, USA)
Kevin K. Byon (Department of Kinesiology, Indiana University Bloomington, Bloomington, Indiana, USA)

International Journal of Sports Marketing and Sponsorship

ISSN: 1464-6668

Article publication date: 30 January 2024

Issue publication date: 19 March 2024

219

Abstract

Purpose

This study aimed to understand better what makes esports fans engage with streamers' live-streaming of esports gameplay. This study used the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) and additionally adopted streamer identification and esports game identification as moderating variables.

Design/methodology/approach

Data were collected from streamers' esports content streaming viewers over 18 years of age using an online survey in Amazon M-Turk (N = 307). Based on past esports live-streaming weekly watching hours, which range from 1 to 45 h, the participants were divided into lower (n = 152) and higher (n = 155) frequency groups. PLS-SEM and bootstrapping techniques were used to test the moderated mediation relationships among the constructs.

Findings

This study found a negative moderating effect of past watching experience on the relationship between attitudes and behavioral intention, and it positively moderated the path between perceived behavioral control and behavioral intention. Also, it was found statistically significant direct impacts of streamer identification (STI) and esports game identification (EGI) on attitude and subjective norms. While the indirect impact of STI on behavioral intention through attitude was statistically significant, there were no significant indirect impacts of EGI on attitude and behavioral intention through subjective norms.

Originality/value

Theoretically, this study extends the TPB model by exploring the two identifications (i.e. streamers and esports games) as antecedents of the focal TPB factors (i.e. attitudes, subjective norms and perceived behavioral control) and the moderating effect of prior experience based on high/low weekly watching frequencies. Practically, content creators of esports live-streaming and live-streaming platform managers can use the study’s findings to develop strategies to nurture their current and future viewership.

Keywords

Citation

Jang, W.(W)., Choi, W., Kim, M.J., Song, H. and Byon, K.K. (2024), "What makes esports consumers watch streamers' esports live-streaming contents? Extending the theory of planned behavior", International Journal of Sports Marketing and Sponsorship, Vol. 25 No. 2, pp. 288-309. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJSMS-07-2023-0132

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2023, Emerald Publishing Limited

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