As the coronavirus outbreak has forced many to remain indoors in an effort to reduce the spread of the virus, people are looking for ways to entertain and distract themselves until this quarantine period passes.
However, this might be a little bit easier said than done for some people. While many Americans rely on live sporting events for their at-home entertainment, nearly all televised sporting events have been canceled or postponed.
The NBA, NHL, MLB, NCAA, NASCAR, and Formula 1 are just a few of the major organizations to postpone sporting events for the foreseeable future.
Still, while traditional sports might not be currently available, esports and video game streaming seem to be picking up the slack.
Esports Save the Day
Esports, of course, have been on the rise for the past several years — some leagues have even managed to sell out major arenas like the Staples Center and Madison Square Garden. However, while in-person esports events have been canceled, these leagues now have the opportunity to expand their audience via online events.
Professional leagues for popular games like Call of Duty, Overwatch, League of Legends, and others are continuing to stream professional matches on websites like Twitch and YouTube. As a result, not only do fans of these leagues get to enjoy these matches, but average consumers may be more inclined to give esports a shot.
Lee Trink, CEO of FaZe Clan, which owns a spot in the Call of Duty League, said, “It’s certainly an opportunity for the space to demonstrate that esports can scratch the itch on competition,” according to The Washington Post.
Offering his thoughts on why esports can excel during this time, Kent Wakeford, co-founder of esports organization Gen.G, stated, “canceled events impact a certain aspect of the fan experience, but unlike traditional sports where the live event is a financial and economic driver of the overall experience, esports is different in that, from a broadcast perspective, so much of broadcast is focused on online and not as dependent on the live audience.”
Some traditional sports, such as Formula 1 and IndyCar, are even taking advantage of esports, with professional drivers participating in esports racing events.
Streamers See Surges in Viewership
It’s not just professional esports that are seeing increases in viewership — video game streamers are also seeing some growth.
Content creators on platforms like Twitch and Mixer have a major opportunity to attract new viewers who would otherwise be at work or school during the day.
While Twitch has not provided any viewership figures lately, research firm Sensor Tower revealed that there was a 50%, 41%, and 26% week-over-week increase in first-time Twitch app downloads across Greece, Italy, and Spain, respectively.
As the coronavirus outbreak carries on and people remain in self-isolation, it’s probable that the esports and video game streaming industries will continue to see growth.
Article By: Connor Beam