The world of sports has been hit hard by the recent health crisis sweeping the planet, with virtually every event worldwide being canceled outright or suspended indefinitely.
Every sports fan knows that reminiscing over classic past seasons and games can only be done for so long and that eventually, a new obsession must replace those that went before it. Some sports will continue to be played behind closed doors, although with team owners finding that they themselves, as well as many of their professional athletes, are as likely to fall foul of the virus as general members of the public, that may be a fleeting and ultimately futile exercise.
So, what should sports fans tune in to while their favorite league is shut down?
Coronavirus & Gaming
With the odds being slashed on many major sports leagues and competitions being canceled due to the pandemic, many fans are worried that there’ll be no sports entertainment to watch over the coming months, let alone bet on. Luckily for those people in search of a new game to follow, Esports betting odds remain unchanged, with gaming tournaments able to announce that they are simply shifting online instead of declaring a cancellation.
Esports Haven’t Completely Evaded Quarantine
It would be wrong to suggest that Esports tournaments have switched seamlessly into being one hundred percent online in light of recent events, with plenty of high profile Esports tournaments being canceled or forced behind closed doors. Such has been the case with Dota 2’s Epicenter Major that was due to take place in Russia and the Intel Extreme Masters that was scheduled for launch in Poland.
With Esports magnates becoming accustomed to raking big money from ticketed live audiences, the sport as a whole will undoubtedly take a hit. However, because the sport was born online and the majority of its followers still prefer to follow a live feed of an event rather than traveling to an arena, Esports players and fans are well placed to ride out the COVID-19 storm.
Nimble Enough to Make Swift Contingencies
While the rest of sports organizers scrambled to understand what the outbreak would mean for them in the short and medium-term, their Esports counterparts were hastily packing away their live event spaces and announcing to fans and players alike that the show would continue on the safety of the world wide web.
One case in point is the Call of Duty League, where fans are already watching and discussing how the shift away from the offline play will benefit some teams more than others, as online LAN speeds and other factors begin to play a crucial role in how games pan out. The Overwatch League is another organization rapidly reworking its competition format to accommodate teams no longer able or willing to travel.
Is This the Beginning of an Esports Takeover?
It’s no exaggeration to say that not since the Second World War has there been such widespread disruption to the schedules of regular live sporting events, with teams and players struggling to even train and practice, let alone play. Ironically this has meant that many sporting stars themselves have been driving interest in Esports during their Corona enforced downtime.
The likes of F1 driver Lando Norris and goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois even took part in a digital re-creation of the recently canceled Australian GP, racing against one another in a specially organized E-race. With sporting stars like Stephen Curry and Kevin Durrant already investing financially in Esports teams, perhaps sports players themselves are realizing that in a fractured and unpredictable world, the only way to guarantee a constant stream of sporting entertainment is via the online sphere.
With this summer’s Olympics and Euro 2020 football championships odds-on to be canceled, such hypotheses are no longer pie in the sky fantasies.