Dr. Natalie Pennington published alongside former advisee in Telematics and Informatics Reports

Assistant Professor Natalie Penngington and her former advisee Josh Barney have published the paper “An exploration of esports fan identity, engagement practices, and motives” in the most recent issue of Telematics and Informatics Reports.


As esports continues to grow in popularity, it is important to evaluate esports viewers and the fan communities that form around esports. The present study surveyed esports fans (N = 174) to examine motives for watching esports, how those motives may relate to engagement behaviors within the esports community, and if the strength of fan identity mediated the relationship between motives and engagement. The three categories of motives assessed were skill-based, entertainment-based, and relationship-based. Results suggest that the strength of fan identity predicts both viewing frequency and engagement online within esports communities. Skill-based motives predicted greater viewing frequency, while relationship-based motives predicted both viewing frequency and engagement online. Mediation analysis revealed that fan identity partially mediated skill-based motives and fully mediated relationship-based motives. Entertainment-based motives did not predict viewing or engagement. Together, our results provide additional insight into esports fandoms, and the significance of relationships formed and sustained.