Does pressing pause on sports, means the rise of esports?

Updated: Nov 25, 2020

Vir: Lemur Legal

Any true sports fan will tell you how much he/she is suffering due to the lack of sports content and tournaments during the coronavirus. This is because the pandemic had a devastating influence on sports that caused the cancellation of all sports leagues, tournaments, competitions, championships and daily training sessions. Even the Olympics, that were supposed to take place this summer, did not remain immune to the virus and have been postponed to 2021. Nevertheless, all this “lack” of sports and staying at home to prevent the spread of the virus, is a great opportunity for esports aka electronic sports, to develop their true potential and fill the gaps caused by the virus. That is why a lot of sports leagues and organizations have focused on developing their virtual competitions and leagues during this time.

Game console as essential sporting equipment

The cancellation of traditional sports competitions and the (forced) change of sports enthusiasts' habits, opened the door to the development of esports. One of the first sport championships that joined the #stayhome movement was motoGP Championship, which in the end of March hosted the first virtual race. The latter exceeded all expectations in the esports tournament’s viewership since it was viewed by more than 3 million people. Due to this, the organizers already announced the second virtual competition, which will take place on the 12th of April. A similar decision was also made in automobile racing where NASCAR association organized a virtual race, which was watched by more than 900.000 viewers.

The NBA Basketball League followed the motoGP model and also announced that it will host a virtual competition in NBA 2k20 game exclusively for team players. They are looking for ways to fill the gaps that have emerged since the cancellation of every future basketball competition. The tournament will feature 15 teams, each represented by one of their players. The NBA Virtual League originally came to life in 2017 and will this year host 23 teams, with a total prize pool of just under € 1.3 million.

Even football fans did not remain deprived of their passion as a virtual La Liga FIFA tournament took place last week. 20 professional football players competed against each other with consoles in their hands and represented their teams in the FIFA playoffs. In the end Marco Asensio from Real Madrid won the tournament. Nevertheless, FIFA did not stop there. Currently a Quaran-Team virtual tournament is taking place, featuring 128 teams from all over the world. Teams are not represented only by their players, but also employees or even fans. Once it became apparent that the competition had triggered a flood of interest, the organizers came up with the idea of combining something enjoyable with something useful and decided to donate the money raised during the tournament to football leagues that will be severely financially affected by the virus. The finale of the tournament will take place on April 3rd, which you can watch through Twitch platform.

The future is bright

However, not only sports leagues and tournament organizers are adapting to the current situation but also the media, more precisely sports television programs. One of them is certainly ESPN; one of America’s biggest sports channels, which stood against esports not so long ago. Now, ESPN will be mainly airing esports events and tournaments until April 11th. Additionally, since the beginning of coronavirus Twitch, an already well-established esports platform, has also been launching convincing campaigns to encourage individuals to join their community. Certainly the moment to gain new users and followers is now.

The coronavirus has surely brought more negative than positive to the world, but at least in the light of esports it has provided a perfect opportunity for its progress and development. Traditional sports’ organizations and leagues will thus be able to catch up with the developments and perhaps enter the world of esports themselves. You never know, maybe in the end coronavirus will be the cause of esports being in the next Olympics?

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