Before the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 hit, it was estimated that around $14 billion would be spent on eSports betting in 2020. Now, as eSports is able to continue while physical games and leagues have been placed on hold, it will almost certainly be much higher.
The Growing Popularity of eSports
The world of eSports, or competitive video gaming, is certainly not new. However, it has become far more mainstream over the past few years. New college degrees in electronic sports management have been launched, and at some universities it’s even possible to get a scholarship based on eSport activity.
Athletes train just as hard as their counterparts who participate in conventional matches. The physical and mental stamina required to be successful at the highest level of competitive video gaming is enormous. Watching eSports is also very entertaining, as players move through rich and carefully designed worlds. Many gamers actually earn substantial income from the live-streaming accounts that show all the action they’re getting up to.
Along with this mushrooming public interest in eSports comes new enthusiasm for eSports betting. Dedicated venues have been created to hold huge crowds for video gaming events, and the best squads in the world earn millions in both sponsorship and prize money. The legitimacy and popularity of eSports are now firmly established.
Events Can Be Digitised
While it’s true that massive physical venues have been created to accommodate eSports crowds, they can easily be streamed while players remain in their own homes. That means they can continue virtually unaffected, as COVID-19 forces the world into self-isolation and social distancing.
Some events have been cancelled, but many have simply been adjusted so that they are held completely in the virtual space. While Football, Basketball, Hockey and other physical sport competitions are not possible, fans can still watch eAthletes face off in intriguing virtual worlds. And. Importantly, online bookmakers’ markets are still open on these events.
Kevin Klowden, the Milken Institute Centre for Regional Economics’ executive director, says this could be a critical moment in the development of mainstream eSports. The games fill a unique programming gap, he explains, because they have established leagues and infrastructure that can be adapted to the digital space.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, one of the first eSports to be featured in tournaments, hit new levels of popularity recently. Over 20 million users played at the same time, and the average number of gamers on the Steam platform is now more than 580,000. Similar figures are expected for League of Legends, Defence of the Ancients 2, and other leading competitive video games in the near future.
Helping People Cope with COVID-19
The stress of the novel coronavirus can be attributed not only to the worry about what its total impact will be, but also to having to stay indoors. Many people have taken to social media to comment on how important, but challenging, self-isolation and social distancing are proving.
Experts recommend staying connected to friends and family via phone calls, text messages, social platforms and video calls, and stress the importance of sticking to a routine. In addition, individuals should make sure they spend time on activities that they enjoy every day. For those who count sports betting as part of their recreational activities, this could pose a problem.
Some leagues did consider filming their games, played in empty stadiums, and then broadcasting them. However, that would still put the players themselves at risk. The online betting opportunities afforded by eSports will help bettors to relax and to stick to their usual routines during this these trying times.