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

Updated: Feb 4



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?


#esports #covid #stayhome

Ali zaustavitev športnih dejavnosti pomeni porast ešporta?


Katerikoli športni navdušenec se vam bo verjetno potožil nad trenutnim pomanjkanjem športne vsebine in turnirjev zaradi epidemije koronavirusa. Slednja je imela na šport uničujoč vpliv, ki se pozna v odpovedi športnih lig, turnirjev, tekmovanj, prvenstev in dnevnih treningov. Celo olimpijske igre so se iz tega poletja prestavile na leto 2021. Trenutni športni primanjkljaj in domača izolacija za preprečitev širjenja virusa pa je odlična priložnost za ešport oziroma elektronski šport, da razvije svoj polni potencial in zapolne vrzel, ki je nastala zaradi epidemije. Iz tega razloga se je veliko športnih lig in organizacij v trenutnem času osredotočilo na razvoj lastnih virtualnih tekmovanj in lig.


Igralna konzola kot esencialna športna oprema


Odpoved tradicionalnih športnih tekmovanj in (prisilna) sprememba navad športnih navdušencev sta na široko odprla vrata za razvoj ešporta. Eno izmed prvih športnih tekmovanj, ki se je pridružilo gibanju #stayhome, je prvenstvo motoGP, ki je konec marca gostila prvo virtualno dirko. Slednja je presegla vsa pričakovanja glede ogleda, saj je pritegnila več kot 3 milijone gledalcev. Posledično so organizatorji že napovedali drugo virtualno tekmovanje, ki bo potekalo 12. aprila. Podobna odločitev je bila sprejeta v avtomobilskih dirkah, v okviru katerih je združenje NASCAR organiziralo virtualno dirko, ki je doseglo več kot 900.000 gledalcev.


Košarkarska liga NBA je sledila modelu motoGP in naznanila virtualno tekmovanje v košarkarski igri NBA 2k20, ekskluzivno za profesionalne igralce iz lige. S takšnimi ukrepi se išče načine, kako zapolniti vrzel, ki je nastala zaradi odpovedi bodočih košarkaških tekem. Turnir bo vključeval 15 ekip, od katerih bo vsaka zastopana s strani enega izmed lastnih igralcev. Virtualna liga NBA je sicer izvirno zaživela leta 2017 in bo letos gostila 23 ekip s skupnim denarnim skladom v višini skoraj 1.3 milijona evrov.


Tudi nogometni navdušenci niso ostali prikrajšani, saj je prejšnji teden potekal virtualni La Liga FIFA nogometni turnir. 20 profesionalnih nogometašev je zastopalo svoj španski klub v FIFA izločilnih bojih. Na koncu je zmagovalec turnirja postal Marco Asensio iz Real Madrida. Tekmovanje v igri FIFA pa se ni ustavilo pri tem, saj trenutno poteka virtualni turnir ‘Quaran-team’, ki vključuje 128 ekip iz celega sveta. Ekipe niso zastopane le s strani lastnih nogometašev, temveč tudi s strani zaposlenih v klubu in celo oboževalcev. Ko je postalo jasno, da je turnir pritegnil veliko pozornosti, so se organizatorji odločili zbrani denar donirati nogometnim ligam, ki bodo močno finančno prizadete zaradi epidemije. Finalni obračun si lahko 3. aprila ogledate na platformi Twitch.


Prihodnost je svetla


Trenutnim razmeram pa se ne prilagajajo le športne lige in organizatorji turnirja, temveč tudi mediji, natančneje športni televizijski programi. Med njimi je ESPN, eden izmed največjih ameriških športnih televizijskih programov, ki je še pred kratkim nasprotoval ešportu. Sedaj bo ESPN do 11. aprila predvajal večinoma ešportne dogodke in turnirje. Poleg tega je od začetka krize s koronavirusom že uveljavljena ešportna platforma Twitch pričela s kampanjo, s katero vzpodbuja posameznike, da se pridružijo skupnosti. Zagotovo je trenuten čas odličen za pridobivanje novih uporabnikov in sledilcev.


Koronavirus je nedvomno prinesel veliko več slabih, kot dobrih posledic za svet, vendar pa je v luči ešporta ponudil popolno priložnost za njegov razvoj in napredek. Organizatorji in lige v tradicionalnem športu se bodo tako lahko seznanili z napredkom in morda tudi sami vstopili v svet ešporta. Kdo ve, morda bo trenutna epidemija vzrok za vključitev ešporta na naslednjih olimpijskih igrah?