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Submit a Manuscript to the Journal
Journal of Media Business Studies

For a Special Issue on
“Disruption by Esports: The digital transformation of media businesses”

Manuscript deadline
14 February 2022

Cover image - Journal of Media Business Studies

Special Issue Editor(s)

Brian McCauley, MMTC, Jönköping International Business School, Jönköping University
[email protected]

Tobias Scholz, University of Siegen
[email protected]

Maria Törhönen, Gamification Group, Tampere University
[email protected]

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“Disruption by Esports: The digital transformation of media businesses”

The rise of esports represents a rapidly emerging media market that is changing how we think about the global media landscape in terms of how it is consumed, shared, created, and monetized. Spectating and participation within the esports community is a complex and multifaceted phenomenon where motivations to consume go beyond that of traditional sports (Hamari & Sjöblom, 2017). Despite a rapidly developing global market potentially exceeding 25 billion dollars US in value (Ahn, Collis & Jenny, 2020), as researchers we are still in the early stages of understanding the business aspects of this media context (Scholz, 2019) as well as the consumers (Törhönen et al., 2020) and the different producers (Törhönen et al., 2019) involved in this type of media content. Esports is defined as competitive video gaming (Taylor, 2012), and since 2015, it has expanded rapidly as a professionalized context that includes a vast array of interested stakeholders (Scholz, 2019). To date research within the business context has focused on players and consumers while media research has tended towards questions of the relationships between esports, sports, and media; definitions and delimitation of the context; the methodologies for study; and the practice of live streaming gameplay (Reitman et al., 2020).

Esports represents an unusual media phenomenon in that it began as digital and global but is moving towards a more regional analogue model (Scholz, 2019). As such, there exists a need for theory development within the regional or local context such as market-shaping, ecosystem structure, legitimization, institutional development, stakeholder analyses, forms of emergent business models, media use or events such as streaming or LAN parties (McCauley, Tierney & Tokbaeva, 2020). Further the influence of this global context can be seen to be shaped by existing cultures in terms of leisure, consumption and technological infrastructures (McCauley, Nguyen, McDonald, & Wearing, 2020). The online nature of the esports consumer provides new implications for our understanding of media through the content and wealth of data provided (Ji & Hanna, 2020), and with the current global pandemic accelerating the adoption of esports globally (Cranmer et al., 2021). Understanding the hybrid online and offline nature of the context represents a gap in our knowledge that represents an opportunity for media business scholars. In particular issues of revenue, governance and sustainability are ongoing issues of concern for the industry that provide opportunities for scholars to provide tangible and impactful solutions.

Digital disruption is increasingly relevant for media scholars as digitalization forces changes that provide challenges for organizations (Maijanen, von Rimscha & Głowacki, 2019). Esports companies exist as media companies that go beyond the concept of ambidexterity and can be identified as pioneers of ultradexterity in the media context through “entrepreneurial innovativeness” (Scholz & Stein, 2017). Further the esports audience is “over-energetic, over-enthusiastic, and over-dynamic” (Scholz, 2019), which creates disruption through prosumption behaviors (Andrews & Ritzer, 2018), user entrepreneurship (Koch, Pongratz, McCauley, & Achtenhagen, 2020) and the platform economy and content creation driving emergent business models (Cranmer et al., 2021).

The rapid development of the esports media market represents an example of the digital transformation of media industries providing what Oliver (2018) identifies as “an extraordinary opportunity to develop new intellectual insight by bridging previously discrete fields of knowledge” (p. 295). As such this special issue reflects the most recent developments within the academic field of media management and the business of esports through and we welcome a variety of approaches to answering the following potential questions. We encourage authors to think outside these suggestions and welcome a variety of empirical and conceptual approaches in understanding this ever-increasing disruption to the business of media.

Examples of Potential Research Questions

  • How do existing esports companies achieve flexibility and sustainability?
  • What are the ways of approaching ambidexterity or ultradexterity through the lens of esports?
  • How can we understand revenue models of esports and the implications for media management?
  • What is media management in the context of esports?
  • What are potential aspects other types of media companies could learn from esports companies in terms of digitalization?
  • How do esports companies deal with the volatility of the esports ecosystem?
  • How does the complexity of legitimacy and governance in esports impact sustainability and media business models?
  • How can we understand the future media audience through esports audiences?
  • How can we understand digital entrepreneurship and management in the platform economy
    driven by gaming and esports?
  • How can esports extend and augment our understanding of current theory within business and media management?
  • How can esports challenge how we conceptualize the modern media entrepreneur?
  • How does the hybrid nature of esports extend our understanding of the increasingly digitised media ecosystem?
  • What are the unique cultural characteristics of esports that influence the business of media though local, national or regional lens?

Submission Instructions

To submit a manuscript, please use the Taylor & Francis submission site. For more details on the guidelines please visit the journal’s Instructions for Authors page. The submission deadline is February 14, 2022. If you have any questions, please contact the editors of the special issue. We envisage publishing the Special Issue in mid-2022. We look forward to receiving your manuscript!

Instructions for AuthorsSubmit an Article