A Model of the Threats that Disreputable Behavior Present to Esports Sponsors

Keywords: Esports, Sponsorship, Disreputable behaviour, Marketing, Market analysis


Both esports sponsors and academia are not aware of how disreputable behavior in the esports scene can negatively affect their brands. Hence, this research aimed at identifying which types of disreputable behavior in competitive gaming present the biggest threats to esports sponsors. In this quantitative and exploratory research, a non-probability, purposive, and heterogeneous sampling method was employed to gather a sample of 1,592 esports fans who filled a closed-ended online survey. Results showed that illegal and unregulated gambling was a high-risk threat to esports sponsors; toxic behavior, match-fixing, and cheating were labeled as medium-risk threats; and sexism, cyberattacks, and doping were found to be low-risk threats. Besides being one of the first studies on esports sponsorships, which serves as a basis for future research in this market, the findings contribute to the sustainability of the esports industry and its sponsors. Managerial implications are also discussed.

Author Biographies

Bruno Duarte Abreu Freitas, Universitat de Vic - Universitat Central de Catalunya

Mr. Bruno Duarte Abreu Freitas  (Corresponding author) completed his Bachelor Degree in Languages and Business Relations and his Master Degree in Cultural Management (where he was the best of his class) at the University of Madeira. Having gained a large interest for the fields of marketing, management and entrepreneurship, Bruno decided to research the new and emerging market of esports and is now doing his PhD thesis on esports sponsorships at the University of Vic - Central University of Catalonia (UVic-UCC). Bruno has also presented and published several papers on the esports market.

Ruth Sofia Contreras-Espinosa, University of Vic – Central University of Catalonia

Dr. Ruth S. Contreras-Espinosa is a full-time PhD professor at the University of Vic - Central University of Catalonia (UVic-UCC). Co-founder and coordinator of the Observatory of Communication, Video Games and Entertainment INCOM, at the Autonomous University of Barcelona and UVic-UCC, a multi-disciplinary research group established on April 2014. She has been collaborating with international organizations in a huge variety of projects such as external evaluator at the Portuguese Agency of Evaluation and Accreditation (A3ES) and as a Member of the scientific advisory board on Brazilian Symposium on Computer Games and Digital Entertainment (SBGames).

Pedro Álvaro Pereira Correia, University of Madeira

Dr. Pedro A. Pereira Correia has a PhD in Interactive Digital Communication and Marketing (University of Vic), and he is Lecturer at the University of Madeira and ISAL, Funchal, Portugal. Member of Research Center CiTUR - Center for Research, Development and Innovation in Tourism. External Senior Expert to support the implementation of the European Structural and Investment Funds (2018). A major player in numerous operations and projects with proven multi-disciplinary and management skills. Extensive marketing and social media knowledge.

How to Cite
Freitas, B., Contreras-Espinosa, R., & Correia, P. (2021). A Model of the Threats that Disreputable Behavior Present to Esports Sponsors. Contemporary Management Research, 17(1), 27-64. https://doi.org/10.7903/cmr.20779