It was only the second world war that had impacted world sports to such an extent that the novel Coronavirus pandemic has caused in the past two months. While only a handful of sports have resurfaced in few countries that have been able to fight back the spread of the virus, the majority of the human population is still devoid of any sporting activity. On the other hand, there has been a steady rise of Esports in the recent history, and has reached an all time high at present!
While major events faced cancellation or suspension due to the virus outbreak, it was the Premier League and Formula One to pick up the idea of Esports as an effort to keep the fans engaged with their stars.
From the inaugural ePremier League tournament that saw iconic players from the English top flight taking a dive into the virtual world for a competition, to the Formula One starts hopping in their simulators in their own homes for the Virtual Grand Prix events.
Appraisal for the rise of the Esports industry came straight from Leeston Bryant, the Senior Marketing Manager of esports at McLaren Racing, who emphasised on the tremendous increment of Motorsport simulation that has successfully substituted the absence of real world events amidst the COVID-19 crisis.
“I have been working in Esports for two years and while it has been growing that whole time, we have seen two years’ worth of growth in two months,” Bryant said in a recent interview.
Even when normalcy is restored globally and outdoor events can make a complete return to their previous states, the recent peak of success in the Esports industry holds a promising future, a hopeful Bryant added.
He continued: “I think that is incredibly exciting and I think what we are trying to do is make sure we take that forward into the future.”
Formula 1’s Virtual GP endeavour has been a huge success. In addition to big names of the F1 fraternity, a handful of cricket and football stars and also signed up for the tournament to test their skills behind the steering wheel, notably Real Madrid and Belgium goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois and English cricketer Ben Stokes.
While English football was halted due to the virus crisis in the UK, the fanbase enjoyed the highly acclaimed ePremier League event, which ran from 5th to 9th May. Leicester City midfielder James Maddison was the crowned champion of the football sim tournament, defeating Sheffield United defender John Egan 5-1 in the final.