Title: NCAA e-sports 20XX: an analysis of radical innovation adoption through firm collaboration

Authors: Dylan Williams; Patrick Tutka; Joey Gawrysiak; Seth Jenny

Addresses: Department of Kinesiology, College of Education, The University of Alabama, 1025 Moore Hall, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487, USA ' College of Hospitality and Tourism Management, Niagara University, St. Vincent's Hall, Room 409, NY 14109, USA ' School of Business, Shenandoah University, 1460 University Drive, HHH 208, Winchester, VA 22601, USA ' Department of Exercise and Rehabilitative Sciences, Slipper Rock University of Pennsylvania, 1 Morrow Way, Slippery Rock, PA 16057, USA

Abstract: The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is considering the adoption of e-sports (i.e., organised competitive video gaming), which could be considered a radical innovation as it deviates in many areas from traditional sports (e.g., online game play format, lack of high physical exertion, complicated intellectual property rights for each game, etc.). However, collaboration with firms familiar with the innovation (e.g., National Association of Collegiate eSports - NACE) might mitigate risks surrounding the radical innovation. Thus, the purpose of this paper was to investigate whether a potential association between the NCAA and NACE would be advantageous to both organisations. Through a deductive qualitative content analysis underpinned by Rogers's (2003) innovation characteristics (e.g., complexity, compatibility and relative advantage), several themes emerged: physical exertion, e-sports structure, amateurism, eligibility, compensation, profitability, and diversity and gender equity. These themes are discussed while identifying the benefits and issues surrounding a NCAA/NACE collegiate e-sports adoption and collaboration.

Keywords: radical innovation; innovation adoption; collaboration; e-sports; electronic sports; National Collegiate Athletic Association; NCAA; National Association of Collegiate eSports; NACE.

DOI: 10.1504/IJSMM.2021.114167

International Journal of Sport Management and Marketing, 2021 Vol.21 No.1/2, pp.76 - 102

Accepted: 16 Jul 2020
Published online: 12 Apr 2021 *

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