Has COVID-19 Helped Esports?

COVID-19 has helped grow e-sports as a whole. At the beginning of the pandemic, people watched about a billion hours of content on Twitch. As COVID-19 began to spread and more, more people wanted to stay home. Twitch saw an increase to about 1.2 billion hours watched in March 2020. 

Even after March, “Fortnite,” “League of Legends,” “Modern Warfare” and more kept growing. ESPN and other sports sites are now broadcasting events that would usually be on YouTube. After all, no one was playing baseball and basketball. Even games like “Madden” and “MLB: The Show” aired on ESPN. 

As someone who thrives off of gaming, it was interesting to see how much growth would come from COVID-19. With “Fortnite” events still being extremely popular and “Warzone” tournaments kind of taking over the scene, the increased viewership has been helpful to a lot of streamers as well. Nickmercs, Timthetatman, Myth and Nadeshot all gained even more popularity. 

Musicians even flocked to live streaming to show off new albums or pieces they were working on. It was a great way for musicians to keep in touch with their audience and continue to thrive off what they do despite concerts being cancelled.  

However, most major companies couldn’t keep up with demands for systems and games. Most of this was due to operations downsizing because of the rules and regulations released with COVID-19. Most companies could only run 50 percent of the staff in order to meet the requirements. 

Nintendo and its counterpart Tencent both saw increases in revenue as game sales soared both digitally and in stores. However, companies have not been able to keep up fully with demand. Even key computer components have been sold out because these companies can’t keep up with the demand. 

With COVID-19 still causing mass discomfort to most people, we will continue to see a rise in popularity among many esports titles. COVID-19 has done a lot already for gamers. I could see it continuing to open up new sponsorships and avenues that we have not seen in the past. It will help lead to a sense of normalization to e-sports and showcase what these elite e-athletes have to offer. 

BANNER: Sergey Galyonkin//Flickr

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