E-sports, or electronic sports, is a term referring to competitive (video)gaming, where players face off against each other in serious matches and tournaments. While e-sports have become one of the major forms of digital culture and form of business in gaming, research within e-sports is yet scarce. This exploratory study aims to further the understanding of the business ecosystem surrounding e-sports. We document and investigate different actors, players, their relationship and revenue models in one of the world’s biggest e-sports ecosystems around the game Starcraft 2. We employ the e3-value methodology, along with a qualitative analysis, to build an understanding of the e-sports ecosystem. Through this ecology analysis, five distinct revenue models are identified and the key actors of these are presented. Based on our results, e-sport players employ tournament earnings, casting, coaching, team salary and sponsorships as their main revenue models. Furthermore, the study illustrates the vital importance of sponsors to the ecosystem.
Zhou, Feng and Huang, Shihui, "Business Models In E-Sports: Starcraft 2" (2015). ICEB 2015 Proceedings. 62.