This thesis situates organized competitive digital gaming (eSport) in the context of historical sport, the rise of the computer and video games industry, event marketing, and the experience economy. It argues that the oftentimes misattributed origins of eSport in truth first took place during the early 1980s in arcades, when the various criteria for sport, including public contest, a structured framework for victory and defeat, mediatization and promotion, professionalization, record-keeping, and an engaged audience were already in place. It then goes on to discuss the various manifestations and changing nature of eSport as a commercial media product in the internet era before identifying what this all means for sport, gaming, and event marketing in the digital phase of the experience economy. The paper concludes that the transition of competitive play from television to the internet has profound implications for the ways that media products are being consumed and marketed.
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Thesis advisor: Kline, Stephen
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