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PK events, where two streamers are paired to compete for virtual gifts received in a given time, serve as an important source of revenue for Chinese live streaming platforms. Building on rivalry theory, we aim to elucidate the role of rivalry in enhancing viewers’ gifting behaviors for PK events. Specifically, we posit similarity, repeated competition, and competitiveness as the antecedents of rivalry of dyadic competitive relationships, which in turn influences viewers’ virtual gifting behaviors in support of their favored live streamer. To validate the hypothesized relationships, secondary data on PK events were collected from a leading live streaming platform. Findings from this study not only expand on extant literature by scrutinizing how rivalry arises on digital entertainment platforms where competitions are devised for increasing the exposure of entertainers, but also inform practitioners on how to match live streamers for PK events to maximize rivalry and viewers’ gifting behaviors.



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