Date of Award

Spring 2021

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Committee Chair

Dr. John Meyer

Committee Chair School


Committee Member 2

Dr. Paul Strait

Committee Member 2 School


Committee Member 3

Dr. Steven Venette

Committee Member 3 School


Committee Member 4

Dr. Eura Jung

Committee Member 4 School


Committee Member 5

Dr. Christopher Campbell

Committee Member 5 School



Esports are growing in popularity at a rapid pace worldwide. In contemporary society, individuals watch esports broadcasts as part of their normal media consuming practices. This dissertation focuses on Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO), which is currently the most recognized first-person shooter esport worldwide and the third most popular game across all esports genres (Irwin & Naweed, 2020). Interested in how the cultural knowledge and experience of esports and gamers who populate the scene are represented in media, I explored professional CS:GO esports broadcasts from two prominent professional leagues, ESL Pro League (EPL) and ELEAGUE. A thematic analysis of textual and audio-visual data from professional CS:GO broadcasts revealed that esports culture is a novel phenomenon, similar to sport, but situated within video games. Using traditional sports metaphors and comparisons, as well as sportscast style match coverage and gameplay reporting, EPL and ELEAGUE illustrate CS:GO as a global sport. At the same time, both leagues emphasize technicity and rely on gamer jargon to frame professional CS:GO as a hybrid mediasport, intrinsically tied to game culture. EPL and ELEAGUE utilize narratives and images to portray gamers as simultaneously geeks and jocks by highlighting players’ traditional sports backgrounds while also describing them as “natural gamers.” Finally, EPL and ELEAGUE represent gamers as young males who are mostly white, offering audiences a limited worldview that supports a dominant social, cultural, and global ideology.