Competitive video gaming has thrived during the coronavirus pandemic.
People stuck inside have been playing more competitive games, from Counter-Strike to League of Legends, while also watching the world’s best gamers take on one another online. With sports out, esports have helped to satisfy demand for competitive action from viewers.
Esports usage hours and reach rose by an estimated 30% in the first eight weeks of lockdown according to British Esports CEO Chester King.
However, the coronavirus outbreak hasn’t totally spared the esports world. Major esports events have had to be cancelled, hitting ticketing and merchandise sales. Unlike traditional sports though, esports has been able to pivot from arenas to online only matches, where they’re finding a wide audience.
“It’s unfortunate that we can’t really execute events currently with audiences on site,” says Simon Eicher, senior global manager procurement & executive producer special events, at ESL Gaming. “But at least we are able to produce very entertaining shows across most of the esports tournaments with remote production concepts.”
In financial terms, esports has fared relatively well during the Covid-19 pandemic, certainly compared to other media sectors.
“We are never going to be a Twitch, so it is about how we find our authentic place in the esports world.” Victoria Cotton, BBC Sports
Many of esports’ key revenue streams – notably sponsorship, media rights and streaming advertising – have held up during the pandemic, says Dom Tait, practice leader for games, music and audio at research firm Omdia. Only ticket