Will Coronavirus Be a Problem For Esports?

The coronavirus crisis continues to cut a swathe across the world. Almost no countries have dodged the impact of this devastating virus, and although most people will only suffer mild symptoms, the damage the coronavirus and its associated disease COVID-19 are causing is pretty massive. Most major sporting events around the world have been cancelled as a result of COVID-19, with many big sporting organizations unsure as to when they'll be able to resume normal operations. It's an uncertain time in which many of the things we've taken for granted and are being upended, uprooted, and in some cases outright taken away from us.

Through all of this, though, there is one thing in which you can take comfort: the esports industry is enjoying a huge boom. While it's true that the esports industry was already on track for record growth in 2020 and beyond, the coronavirus crisis could have threatened to hugely impact the esports industry, but that threat simply doesn't appear to have materialized. If you're a fan of esports, you can take comfort and solace in the fact that there are many, many alternatives to holding traditional physical esports events. After all, when your discipline is played entirely using gaming tech, there's no reason you need to hold the events in an arena, right?

There's also good news if you're someone who likes to place bets on esports. Since many of the major esports betting platforms are online, you can still do this without needing to worry about making it to your local betting shop or bookmaker. Sites like ESportsBetting.gg are still operating with almost no impact to their business model, offering extremely favorable rates, and a wide range of games on which to place your bets. This aspect of the business, which can be massively lucrative if you know where to place your money, has been almost entirely untouched by COVID-19, which is encouraging news if you're factoring esports betting into your income.

Unfortunately, esports as an industry hasn't entirely managed to escape the ravages of COVID-19. There have been a number of major cancellations as a result of the coronavirus crisis. The Fortnite World Cup, usually a huge event for the esports calendar, has been outright cancelled. Valve has indefinitely delayed the Dota 2 International event, and while this doesn't mean it's necessarily cancelled, we can't see it returning anytime soon. Other major esports events such as EVO 2020 have moved entirely online, meaning that if you had tickets to make the trip to the event in person, you'll sadly be disappointed (although EVO is offering hotel and transport refunds).

Overall, though, we simply don't think the coronavirus crisis will prove a problem for esports, and here's just one of the reasons for that. The crisis has come thick and fast, with the virus growing exponentially in many of the countries it's hit. This means that a lot of esports organizations have had to respond to the crisis quickly, cancelling events without knowing how to rely on a backup plan they probably haven't been able to create. If this crisis goes on for a long time, then esports organizations will learn to adapt and will make new plans for hosting their events. These games and events can often be hugely lucrative, so esports organizers won't want to miss out on those profits.

Indeed, if we want to see a model of how esports can thrive and succeed in a post-coronavirus world, we need only look to the explosion of social media. Usage of platforms like TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook has skyrocketed since the crisis began. That's to be expected; we're all talking to one another digitally now rather than in person, so some uptick is natural. Still, the coronavirus might actually prove to be a boon in disguise for esports as more people pick up controllers and keyboards. We may well see an explosion in future esports champions as a result of the coronavirus crisis, which is a silver lining for you if you love esports as much as we do.

Lots of major esports events -- including the League of Legends LCS series and the Overwatch League -- picked up operations incredibly quickly after quarantines were announced in many places around the world. We can take that as an encouraging sign that the esports industry is resilient and is ready to respond to the crisis in a positive manner. Of course, these things take tremendous amounts of planning, and that planning won't be easy in a post-coronavirus, entirely Zoom-driven business world. Still, if there's one industry that can be resilient to this sort of crisis, it's absolutely the esports industry.

This gives us reason to be optimistic about the future of esports, too. Unlike traditional sport, esports has found a way to resist the crisis and to move its operations to a space that makes the most of the resources available to it. Eventually, traditional sport will, of course, recover, but it simply won't be able to thrive in a locked-down world like esports can. Whatever the future throws at esports, the coronavirus crisis has shown us that the industry is ready to meet it head-on. The pandemic will end and life will return to something approaching normal, but the esports industry has shown that it doesn't need normal to function in an exemplary fashion.

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