As sports fans around the world have become increasingly frustrated with the lack of live events... Esports has stepped in to fill the void… 24-hour sports networks like ESPN and Fox Sports are now airing esports content such as virtual NASCAR races, simulated NBA tournaments played by actual stars of the game and other video games -- to help fill their schedules as sports like baseball, basketball and hockey take a timeout.
This move to esports has also done wonders for the bottom line of gaming companies.
Stephen Hood from Motorsport Games said the surge in interest in esports has moved his business model forward two to three years in just a few weeks.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) PRESIDENT, MOTORSPORTS GAMES, STEPHEN HOOD, SAYING: "I think we have very rapidly gone in two to three weeks from the concept of esports being something that people in their bedrooms do on occasion to all of a sudden becoming mainstream and in many regards the only way you can watch motorsports…people still need their fix, so instead of us having to push the concept of esports onto motorsports series and players and viewers, all of a sudden, that's the only way they can tap into something they love." Esports has even enlisted sports stars to play against each other virtually, so fans can get their fix online.
Video game titles from the NBA, FIFA and NASCAR are all being represented.
Twitch - which dominates the market for game streaming, recorded a nearly 60% jump in viewership in March according to Superdata.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) PRESIDENT, MOTORSPORTS GAMES, STEPHEN HOOD, SAYING: “...There are hundreds of thousands of people tuning in to watch these broadcasts, whether it be on Twitch or YouTube and when you get the backing of a real motorsports series, the numbers go through the roof so what I do hope is that when we do return to normality, the big businesses, sponsors, broadcasters, motorsports series themselves will think there's something to be done here in the world of esports." As sports fans continue to sit at home in the coming weeks and months, gaming companies and sports networks will likely only grow to satisfy restless fans.
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