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Conference Papers Year : 2018

Institutionalization of Esports: The Example of France


Electronic Sports, or e-sports, commonly refer to a competitive approach (professional and amateur) to video gaming that is organized in leagues, tournaments and championships (Hamari & Sjoblöm, 2017). In a statement of October 2017, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) mentioned that “e-sports could be considered as a sporting activity”. However, the primary requirement for the IOC's recognition of e-sports must be the establishment of an “organization guaranteeing compliance with the rules and regulations of the Olympic Movement”. Many academic works have analyzed e-sports in comparison with sports, whether in the field of sports sciences (Mora & Héas, 2003; Jenny et al., 2016; Holt, 2016; Besombes, 2016; Holt, 2016; Heere, 2017; Holden et al., 2017; Karluhati, 2017; Llorens, 2017) or media and games studies (Wagner, 2006; Jonasson & Thiborg, 2010; Witkowski, 2012; Taylor, 2012; Hewitt, 2014; Zarrabi & Jerkrot, 2016). These articles have reveal that unlike sport, e-sports suffers from a lack of legitimate governing body. However, since the early 2010s, many countries around the world including France have begun a process of institutionalizing e-sports at the national level. To understand this process, our fieldwork is based on a qualitative methodology. We have conducted semi-directive interviews with tournaments organizers and members of the recently created French regulatory body, France Esports. We also went to 10 French competitive events between 2015 and 2016 to observe the organization of the national e-sports competitions. Our results show that e-sports in France has historically been dispersed between players (communities and teams), promoters (associative and private leagues organizers) and games publishers who hold the intellectual property of the games. But since 2016, these three stakeholders have joined together to form France Esports with a common goal: to structure and regulate the French e-sports ecosystem under the benevolence of the Ministry of Economy. The specificity of France is therefore both in the e-sports recognition by another ministry than the Sports one, and the presence of the publishers beside the players and the promoters at the national level.
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hal-04015965 , version 1 (06-03-2023)


  • HAL Id : hal-04015965 , version 1


Nicolas Besombes. Institutionalization of Esports: The Example of France. International Sociology of Sport Association (ISSA), Université de Lausanne (UNIL), Jun 2018, Lausanne, Switzerland. ⟨hal-04015965⟩
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