Even before the COVID-19 pandemic began, esports was predicted to be a huge driver of growth for the gaming industry in 2020 and beyond. Now, with mainstream sports around the world on hold and millions of people around globe staying at home to help stop the spread of coronavirus, gaming and esports have become increasingly popular as a way to fill the empty hours of lockdown and isolation.
Some sports leagues such as the NBA have turned to the esports sector to find new ways of engaging with fans. NASCAR has been one of the most successful sports to augment cancelled events with its iRacing Series, with one event attracting 1.3 million viewers at its peak. Several esports competitions are also being shown on live TV, as broadcasters look to fill hours of scheduled sports content that were cancelled in the wake of the pandemic. Additionally, Twitch, the biggest live-streaming platform for games, has seen its hours watched jump 50 percent between March and April and a full 101 percent year over year.
So, is esports having a big moment? What’s happening and what will happen next?
Moderated by Lisa Hanson, President, Niko Partners, our panelists discuss:
- Esports’ growth in prominence and legitimacy as a result of the coronavirus pandemic
- Some of the recent esports events that have occurred during lockdown, how they came to be, and why they’ve been successful
- The emergence of mobile esports and how it may affect the industry overall, and
- The potential effects esports may have on broadcasting and TV