Esports Sponsorship: An Empirical Examination of Esports Consumers’ Perceptions of Non-Endemic Sponsors

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Traditional sport organizations and their sponsors are beginning to embrace esports, but the effectiveness of non-endemic sponsorships in esports remains uncertain. Esports consumers are notoriously hostile to organizations they perceive as seeking to exploit them – including the growing ranks of non-endemics seeking to capitalize on the youth- and tech-centric esports industry. The purpose of this study is to evaluate esports consumers’ perceptions of non-endemic sponsorships. We adapt a well established sport sponsorship model to the context of esports to test key relationships’ salience to sponsors. We demonstrate that non-endemic sponsors can benefit from esports team sponsorship through enhanced attitudes, perceived goodwill, and product purchase intentions. Moreover, we find that there is only a small effect of esports brand attitude on attitude toward the sponsor, yet a larger effect on perceived goodwill and product purchase intentions. This suggests that firms with limited marketing budgets can benefit from increased goodwill and purchase intentions by sponsoring emerging esports teams who provide low-cost sponsorship opportunities.




This article is the authors' final published version in Journal of Global Sports Managment, Volume 8, Issue 2, November 2020, Pages 524-549.

The published version is available at https://doi.org/10.1080/24704067.2020.1846906. Copyright © Informa UK Limited