2020’s Big Leap for Esports
There had been a lot of uncertainty for major sporting events throughout the first half of 2020 with delays and cancellations around the world, and although the back half of the year looked much better there is certainly still some hiccups along the way as 2021 has already called for some cancellations and postponements in major sporting too, but this has allowed a space for esports to move in to as it has been seeing enormous growth over the past decade, and is quickly moving to become not only a household name for the younger audience, but also something the older audience can enjoy too.
One of the biggest benefits for esports has been within the diversity in games available for spectators – the big three titles that have largely made esports popular are certainly great viewing for the esports enthusiast but can also be difficult to appreciate for new viewers, particularly the viewers who aren’t gamers themselves, but that’s where many of the other titles come in – games like FIFA and NBA have brought a more familiar look to esports for more traditional sporting fans, and the big explosion of a motorsports esports scene with games like iRacing when sporting such as NASCAR and the F1 had been delayed helped bring yet another audience over to the growing esports world.
Similarly, a wider spread of esports betting has helped add yet more familiarity to the scene too, whilst some esports betting mostly takes place on the bigger games, the smaller previously mentioned titles certainly have their own betting markets too and have went a long way in bringing new fans over who may have otherwise not been as interested in the change.
Broadcasting has always been a big boon here too – without the reliance of special TV deals locked behind a paywall, all big esports events are livestreamed for free or have various VOD’s to be viewed later making viewing very accessible, without any barrier to entry for viewing it has allowed the growth of viewership that may be difficult elsewhere as a specific subscription may be required just for viewing. With different regions competing at different times of day, it does make it much easier to keep on top of your particular favourite as you can view live in your current region, and view VODs immediately of other regions too.
2021 is already set to be a big year in esports, many offline events have already been confirmed with the first biggest event coming toward the end of February as the Intel Extreme Masters returns to Katowice and an ongoing focus on delivering more offline events following the cancellation of some last year, but with a full roster of online events set to continue undisturbed too there’s plenty of viewing to be had. If there are further cancellations to regular sporting events which does look somewhat likely at least toward the start of the year, esports will once again benefit from the increasing viewership that comes with that.