With Major Sports Shut Down, eSports Finally Get The Attention They Deserve by Ari F.
Updated: May 14
As the novel coronavirus has shut down every major sporting league, many sports fans are wondering how they can fill the massive gap in their daily lives. March Madness, the Kentucky Derby, and the NBA playoffs are events that millions of people watch, but are all canceled due to the pandemic. But, maybe sports don’t have to be played in person?
With the release of Fortnite Battle Royale in 2017 and Overwatch in 2016, eSports has grown 40%. According to Newzoo, eSports revenue will surpass $1 billion this year. Regular gamers, like Ninja and Tfue, have turned into celebrities. Twitch has turned into gaming's biggest streaming service, with 50,000 streams live at any time of the day. This year, Fortnite had a world cup competition, where a 16-year-old won $3 million. League of Legends and Overwatch have enormous events each year, where thousands of people come to watch their favorite gamers.
Many people are skeptical of eSports and videogames, claiming kids and young adults are wasting their time and losing brain cells. While playing video games too much can be a waste of time, eSports teach communication and teamwork and helps connect friends, especially with the circumstances now.
During this pandemic, eSports has become one of the only sports people can watch, besides marble racing, and has proven the ability to attract large audiences. Twitch and Youtube have seen large increases in eSports streaming, and Verizon has seen a 75% increase in gaming usage since the quarantine began. Twitch has had all-time highs in the first quarter of 2020 in hours watched and streamed. New games such as Call of Duty: Warzone which came out in March, has created lots of new content for fans to watch. But that's not all. Even celebrities are joining the video game world. With the Nascar season postponed, they created iRacing events. At the eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series streamed on March 22, one million fans tuned into the event live on Fox Sports where pro drivers faced off against pro gamers. 2K sports had an NBA 2k20 tournament on ESPN, where 16 NBA players including Kevin Durant and Trae Young competed for the title of NBA 2K20 Players Champion and $100 thousand for a charity of their choice.
With the number of cases and deaths related to the novel coronavirus slowly going down every week, every sports fan in the world is counting down the days until they can finally watch their team play again. Maybe sports don’t have to be always played on fields or in gigantic stadiums, maybe they can be played in your own home under your cover at 11:00 pm, or in your basement chilling with your friends? The future of eSports and game streaming is endless, all you gotta do is give it a chance.