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Abstract

Although technology is an important aspect of every type of sport, only some sports are so dependent on technology that they could not exist without strong financial and technological contributions of other businesses seeing benefits in sponsoring teams. One such sport originated at the end of the 19th century: motorsports. Roughly a century later, another sport strongly dependent on technology started its rise: e-sports. To maintain interest in these sports, there continues to be a need to make the technology attractive to the general public. As e-sports’ popularity is soaring, it is of interest to reflect on which factors played a role in this rise in popularity, how they continue to influence e-sports’ popularity and to what extent they compare to early factors involved in raising the popularity of motorsports. The paper will show that, for both motorsports and e-sports, the real drivers to develop these technologies into mainstream sports did not arise from the athletes nor from industries directly benefitting from enhanced public exposure to these sports. Rather, media and other industries attempting to reach out to specific consumer communities and looking to remain modern were strongly involved in evolving both types of sports into their current popularity. Based on the effects of media portrayal of the popularity of motorsports throughout its history, the paper identifies several contemporary issues e-sports will need to resolve in order to maintain its popularity.

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