Daily operations of sports leagues have come to a complete halt over the past two weeks due to developments involving the COVID-19 outbreak. Sports leagues are not alone, as travel bans have been implemented and universities have suspended face-to-face instruction.
Numerous winter collegiate sports were nearing postseason play, like the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. Professional leagues like the NBA were nearing the playoffs, and the MLB was approaching the start of its season.
With traditional sports on pause, here’s how esports has changed in the wake of COVID-19 concerns from The Red & Black:
Giving esports leagues a try
With the cancellation of practically every professional and collegiate sports league, avid sports fans around the world have been left with little to look forward to in the future. Luckily for sports fans, when one door closes, another door opens.
In this case, the world of esports is hoping to draw in new viewers and create new fans. Most of the major leagues have been entirely suspended, such as tournaments involving League of Legends, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and all Electronic Arts leagues, including Madden, FIFA and Apex Legends. However, the Overwatch League and the Call of Duty League will both be continuing their seasons online and will be streamed via Youtube Gaming.
Sports teams move to ELeagues
Due to the cancellation of the NBA, its players were left with little or nothing to do. Though some decided they would take on their own streaming careers, others decided to continue competing against their regular opponents. However, these games are being played virtually.
On March 13, the Dallas Mavericks and the Phoenix Suns went head-to-head in NBA 2K20 on Twitch, with the Mavericks taking the victory by a score of 150-136. In Spain, a few of the players from the top soccer leagues, like La Liga BBVA, decided they would continue play on the virtual pitch provided by FIFA 20.
Traditional athletes turn to E-Athletes
In the world of sports, the athletes themselves are the most affected as their livelihoods and careers have been completely put on hold. Many athletes have decided to continue their sports careers in the virtual world. Some have even decided to stream their gaming performances live.
Sergio Reguilón and Borja Iglesias Quintas played with their respective teams in a contest between Sevilla FC and Real Betis. This match was streamed via Twitch and commentated by Spanish esports commentator Ibai Llanos.
Pete Alonso, first baseman for the New York Mets, stated via Twitter that he was interested in downloading MLB The Show 2020 and challenging teammates as well as other players in the MLB.
Off the court and onto Twitch
NBA players across the league have decided to show off their abilities in the virtual battlefield as well, as many have taken to Twitch to stream their performances in the new Call of Duty Warzone game mode that has taken the gaming world by storm. Warzone falls under the “Battle Royale” gaming category that was made famous by Fortnite.
Over 100 players drop into one large battle area in teams of three, and the last team standing wins. Along with many other NBA stars, Trae Young, Devin Booker and Josh Hart have stated in various tweets over the last week that they would be trying their hand at the latest Call of Duty addition.