League of Legends fans in Europe have been clamoring for smaller, local esports events to attend, as they look for more chances to connect in-person with gamers, their favorite players, and developers, according to a new study conducted by Professor Babak Taheri from the Marketing and Consumer Studies Research Centre at Nottingham Business School/Nottingham Trent University, who surveyed 549 League of Legends spectators on Reddit toward the end of the 2020 Summer Splits.
Taheri explored the role that player fandom can play in encouraging gamers to attend in-person events. His report states that fandom is an important social experience for fans, with them traveling to live events in order to cheer for their favorite team and players, as well as interact with fellow fans who share their self-identity.
The lure of stars and well-known game developers was a significant motivational factor for players to attend events among the research participants. This suggests that the organizers of esports events should be looking to market any star players who may be competing while also reaching out to developers and other key stakeholders who are “idolized” within the community so that attendees have the chance to meet the celebrities of the gaming world. Additional recommendations include partnerships between host cities and esports providers to create experiences to encourage attendance.
“The consistent message of a sense of belonging and feeling connected among those questioned in the study suggests that events should be organized in such a way that attendees feel connected with the image of the event and what it represents,” said Professor Tahiri. “This could include encouraging cosplay or personalized guild or team T-shirts, which the research participants said helped their sense of belonging and comfort at events.”
Tahiri’s findings also showed that players’ friendships and a sense of belonging encouraged them to attend in-person esports events. This was generated from their interactions and long-term memberships of guilds, and the sense of community they have constructed through years of playing online.
(All information was provided by Esports News UK)
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