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Abstract: The present study exposes the influence of relational mechanisms that are critical for understanding how evaluations occur in peer-based tournament rituals. Specifically, we look at the extent to which cultural producers’ social ties to the members of the evaluating audience (i.e., whether they worked together in the past), their level of cliquishness (i.e., the extent to which they are embedded in the same cliques) and reciprocity (i.e., whether the producers rewarded audience members in the previous tournaments rituals) shape awards allocation decisions. We engage in a qualitative exploration of our setting to contextualize our hypotheses and understand the process by which awards are allocated and the role that relationships between jurors and project-participants play in affecting peer recognition in tournaments rituals. We then test and find support for our hypotheses within the context of the Norwegian advertising industry by looking at cultural producers’ chances of being rewarded in “The Silver Tag” – the most important digital advertising awards contest in Norway – during the period 2003-2010. By unveiling the centrality of social mechanisms that cut across the audience-producer interface, the use of a mixed-method approach offers systematic insights into the relational underpinnings of peer-based tournament rituals. The results of the analysis have important implications for the growing research on social evaluations and peer recognition.