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