Esports are not breaking new ground, despite the hype


Vanessa Nazareno

Gamer playing “League of Legends” while simultaneously streaming the 2020 Champion Series Spring Split Playoffs on Twitch.

Vanessa Nazareno, Reporter

It is true that esports showed an increase in viewers ever since the pandemic started, but I don’t think that trend will continue to grow once major sports resume their currently paused seasons.
With all the major sports getting suspended, many Americans felt the void of not having games to look forward to.
However, professional gaming is operating just fine as players continue tournaments online from the comfort of their own homes. This may be coincidental popularity due to the pandemic, but the increase in views are not from people who usually watch the major sports leagues.
People who are watching esports are the people staying at home that know how to play and understand these esports games.
With many residents cooped up in their apartments or homes, a lot of people have more time to watch ESPN esports since they are stuck sheltering-in-place.
The major sports network, ESPN, took a big hit due to the cancellation of major sports leagues’ current season.
“That leaves all-sports networks — particularly ESPN, which owns more rights to live games than any other media entity — with several unprecedented problems”, said CNBC, going on to point out how important it is for ESPN to find replacement programming.
Fortunately, ESPN became the home base of “League of Legends Championship Series Spring Split Playoffs” in the United States, which was a big step in retaining esports.
I would not expect this to snowball more after the major sports leagues resume their seasons, but esports will continue to grow with the help of ESPN, who opened the door to more viewers.
Esports had a lot of viewers during this pandemic when they streamed the U.S. “League of Legends Championship Spring Split Playoffs” which may lead ESPN to view esports as more lucrative than they realize.
According to The Verge, the total hours of Pro “League of Legends” watched was up over 110% compared to the previous year and the average minute audience jumped over 215% compared to the previous season.
Esports will have more time slots from ESPN due to the increasing number of viewers which will increase their revenue.
People can now subscribe to ESPN channels on their television to watch “Overwatch,” “Counter-Strike,” “Defense of the Ancients” or any other esports games.
Now that esports are streaming through ESPN, this might increase the popularity of the game more, but only if people start playing these games.