We’re seeing most major sporting events across Europe start to return to business as usual – the Premier League football in the UK gets underway today alongside the return of UK racing through the Royal Ascot which also started this week, Formula 1 is looking to make a comeback relatively soon too. A sentiment which has been followed across Europe as similar signs ring true – Germany got football back underway with Italy and Spain soon to follow, similarly with racing too. The US is a little behind in this aspect as they’re still dealing with the impact of the coronavirus and many of their major sporting events are falling a little behind, but many are set to get started again throughout July – but with all this downtime for regular sporting events, esports as a whole have managed to continue with minimal disruption and have in large part been a huge part in helping regular sporting events too.
(Image from esportsobserver.com)
Even moving outside of the traditional big three names in esports which have done their own part – we look to other games that have taken place, through big supported titles from the NBA such as their own esport scene, to other events such as those which have taken place on iRacing for motorsports to keep fans entertained with their favourite racing drivers over the past two or three months. It has shown that the esport infrastructure is very strong and able to withstand changes that other sports have been unable to adapt to as quickly as esports has. This is also true for other sectors that rely on these events taking place.
This change is seen primarily in betting – for the UK as an example, there have been changes to impact how players can interact – as of April this year credit card betting has now been banned in an effort to reduce problem gamblers from racking up big debts, this goes hand in hand with an initiative called Gamstop which is aimed at the same purpose of reducing problem gamblers, many operators have worked around this as there are non uk casinos and betting sites available, and these have been given a breath of life as esports has continued without much delay.
It’ll take a little time to realise the true impact of the past three months on many of our favourite sporting events, and since the foreseeable future will be continuing without fans in attendance and other restrictions, it may provide a learning opportunity for what esports has been able to accomplish by moving primarily to online streaming with fan attendance being only a small part of the experience, largely as an optional addition for bigger events. In order to adjust to changes in behaviour, regular sporting events may need to look to adopt some of these changes to prevent similar difficulties moving forward if something like this were to ever happen again, or even in the short term to reduce the possibility that a second outbreak could cause long delays similar to what had recently been experienced.