Although Sunday night for students is often spent alone, working on next week’s homework to make up for a weekend spent with friends, Matthew Wang, Columbia College junior and president of the Columbia eSports team, spends the night on Discord with more than 200 other members. At first glance, the server may seem quiet—nobody is constantly chatting or playing music when in fact, everyone is immersed in gaming as shown in their profiles: League of Legends and Overwatch scrimmages, or their nightly game of Minecraft or Hearthstone.

However, experienced users know that the server always has an underlying surge of energy. When discord is open in the background of the computer, it’ll blink often as members log on or off. Discord also has a live streaming function, allowing other members to see someone’s screen as they eat dinner and plan their Minecraft castle together. The sense of community can motivate members to train or even just have more fun.

During a pandemic, the same immersive feeling has been lost in the traditional sports world. For example, there is no underlying energy or connection when shooting a basketball alone in the backyard. During these uncertain times, traditional sports have lost its usual luster: Even the title-clinching game of the NBA finals this year only had 5.6 million viewers, less than a third of the 2019 finals title game viewership of 18.3 million views.

The opposite can be said for esports, the industry has continued its ascent. The global esports