The Rise of Esports in the Face of Coronavirus Pandemic

Updated: Jun 26, 2020

At the turn of the year 2020, everything seemed great Liverpool was blazing the Premier League unbeaten, UEFA Euro 2020 draws were hype with people looking forward to one of the toughest Euro groups in all of the competition's history with France, Germany and Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal facing each other, the F1 circuit was proceeding as usual with Hamilton in the lead, and everything was sailing smoothly despite few global tensions with WW3 trending on Twitter after the attack on an Iranian commander and the misfortune that the entire world mourned, Kobe and his daughter's demise but everything came to a halt when the Coronavirus or Covid-19 an extremely contagious virus exponentially spread all over the world with China as its epicentre. Leagues in various countries came to a screeching halt with Serie A of Italy being the first as Italy was the most infected region of Europe, fans of Liverpool watched in despair as the probability of the season being voided would mean they would be wrongfully denied of their first Premier League title in 30 years which is all but wrapped up with the team sitting 25 points ahead of the second-placed team. The Olympics moved to 2021 which has rarely occurred in its entire history, sports was done for, at least for the immediate future. So what next? The void created by sports cannot be undermined after all it has been going on for over a century! The surprising answer to many outside the Esports ecosystem but less surprising to us gamers was esports. Although many competitions that are conducted offline on LANs which require the teams to visit an arena filled with fans such as the League of Legends leagues in many countries around the world like the LCS in North America or the LEC for Europe and LCK Spring Split 2020 in Korea as well as the Overwatch League that takes place in home and away stadiums were temporarily halted, they soon resumed with an online competition where they could play from the comfort and safety of their gaming houses and thus the season resumed. It didn't just resume, it resumed with record viewership and continued excellence in broadcast despite limited resources. Many such as the League of Legends' LCS aired on ESPN along with few other games such as the NBA 2k League and other esports events. Nascar partnered with Fox to bring iRacing simulator on tv broadcast as the channels were empty of any live sports, esports rose to the forefront and provided a much-needed substitute for the competitors within us. Many F1 drivers tried streaming on Twitch and even Maisie Williams created an account to stream Animal Crossing on Twitch.

And while it may not be an esports title, you can bet the record viewership set by many of the League of Legends, CS:GO and other esports competitions brought Twitch and gaming to the forefront to be noticed by people around the world in these trying times.

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