Unpacking Nuance among Esports Consumers: Market Partitions within Esports based on Social Media Analytics

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Aims: The purpose of this study is to investigate the pattern of consumer relationships between popular esports titles to understand how the esports market is partitioned in terms of unique and shared social media followers across gaming titles.

Methods and results: We investigate esports market partitions based on social network analysis of over 33 million unique Twitter users who follow the official accounts for one or more of 16 leading esports titles. We find relatively low levels of co-occurrence in follower relationships between sport and non-sport titles. Higher shared follower rates are most common among titles from the same publisher, while there is minimal evidence that game genre influences audience sharing. We find evidence that esports titles with larger followings also enjoy higher rates of exclusivity (i.e., consumers who follow only that title and are not shared with other esports titles).

Conclusions: Results from the current study call into question the influence of traditional genre designations on driving esports consumer behavior. Relatively high levels of audience overlap among dissimilar titles (i.e., titles from different genres) from the same publisher indicate high consumer loyalty to a publisher, suggesting cross-promotion can be an effective audience-building strategy. The large proportion of single-title followers is consistent with a high degree of esports social media follower concentration.




This article is the authors' final published version in International Journal of Esports, Volume 1, Issue 1, December 2021, Pages 1-11.

The published version is available at https://www.ijesports.org/article/53/html. Copyright © IJESPORTS & INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF ESPORTS