Unless you are into the excitement of marble racing, there’s not been a lot of sports to watch lately. At a time when people have more leisure time than ever before, thanks to the coronavirus, there’s barely no live sport on TV. Just when we need it most. The market for sports hasn’t gone anyway, it’s bigger than ever, and with this gap in the market, esports gaming are seizing this chance to shine. Not just Counter Strike, Call Of Duty and Overwatch, but FIFA, NBA 2K are filling the void football, basketball and soccer once filled.
NASCAR Online Draws A Huge Audience
Live esports tournaments are being shown on TV as broadcasters try to fill empty slots. Fans starved of football or basketball are switching to watching online tournaments in games such as NBA 2K. Perhaps the most successful has been NASCAR, which has augmented its cancelled events with online races. It’s iRacing series attracted 1.3million viewers for a recent race. And established esports organizations like Europe’s Team Liquid or G2 are seeing record viewing figures.
Do Esports Finally Match The Hype?
Many have been skeptical about esports. Five years ago they have been trapped in a vicious cycle of overly optimistic initial valuations and heavy losses. Live sports had the viewers locked down, while esports were difficult to monetize at first. But the money is definitely there now – global revenues from esports are predicted to reach 1.1 billion dollars in 2020, and there are opportunities available for entry into the market at all levels.
Before the virus hit, esports tournaments were major live events, filling arenas with thousands of fans. The pandemic is accelerating these trends, and could lead to a paradigm shift as esports become the new normal.
These though times bring with them opportunities. It’s expected that the lockdowns might hasten the switch to mobile and cloud based platforms. And companies which can adapt to this change in development can gain an edge.
Opportunities abound for smaller companies to cash in on this. One way a smaller company can generate income is by developing third party products that tie in to fan’s favorite game, or with digital products around sports in general.
As we write this, it’s still too early to say what will happen with the lockdowns and the pandemic. But it seems fair to say that now the esports genie is out of the bottle, it won’t be going back in anytime soon. What may once have seemed a niche is now becoming mainstream, and for those who can figure out how to profit from it, there will be good times ahead.
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