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Esports Governance: Exploring Stakeholder Dynamics

Peng, Qi and Dickson, Geoff and Scelles, Nicolas and Grix, Jonathan and Brannagan, Paul Michael (2020) Esports Governance: Exploring Stakeholder Dynamics. Sustainability, 12 (19). p. 8270. ISSN 2071-1050


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Esports is a rapidly growing industry. However, the unidentifiable governance structure of the industry has contributed to a number of integrity-eroding activities. By exploring esports stakeholder dynamics, this paper answers the question, “Is the esports governance model sustainable?” Data were sourced from documentation, focus groups (N = 3) and semi-structured interviews (N = 6). Thematic analysis was conducted using Nvivo. The findings suggest that (1) the current esports governance framework features some attributes of the “lead organisation-governed network”, with the power residing mainly in game publishers; (2) the rising power of other stakeholders in the network seeking to address integrity issues has caused fragmentation of the esports governance framework; (3) esports governance is evolving towards a network administration organisation (NAO) model. Such evolution has a few challenges—most notably, the compliance of game publishers. Given the social impact of the integrity issues, governments should play a main role in facilitating a NAO model.

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