The Online-Only World Of Esports Taking Over The Biggest Sports Leagues

Following the cessation of traditional sports due to Covid-19, there has not been any Olympics, champion league, or NBA. Sports lovers are now filling the void with competitive video games. The Esports tournaments are now taking over. For a long time, the esports industry has been emulating traditional sports leagues to attract a bigger audience. Now that everyone is encouraged to stay at home for safety, fans of football and other common sports are adapting to the digital way of gaming.

Since March 2020, nearly all esports leagues have turned to live to stream. This includes such big names as Flashpoint, League of Legends, ESL Pro League, CDL, and Overwatch League. Normally, these games are played in offline studio arenas whereby fans go wild as the players take the stage. Then there is commentary from casters that brings infectious energy across the entire environment. A new set of challenges is however created when the fans and event producers are watching from home. In February, during Counter-Strike competitions, mass gatherings were banned and the 11,000-seat stadium remained empty. Originally, the league was meant to happen in Malta at a studio. After weighing all possible options, the CS: GO ESL Pro League kicked off entirely online.

It should be noted that the competition is designed to be global including all teams across the world. But travel restrictions cannot allow this. So, the only way out has been to reorganize the events into online broadcasts. Many leagues have gone fully digital. The League of Legends Championship Series wanted to conduct the season in the studio in the absence of fans. But they ended up going online. Then the LCS took things a higher notch through totally remote broadcast. All stakeholders played their part while at home. Viewers could see the commentator in a live broadcast. The idea is to trigger an experience like that of a broadcast booth that feels like everyone is in the control room.

Another challenge of going live is how to ensure that the games are fair. Normally, everything in a studio arena is controllable. In fact, the rules of LCS stipulate that no player should take the gaming peripheral outside the building. But such level of oversight may not be achievable online hence the need for additional measures. Such measures include streaming games on delay, in-game communications via Discord serves, and screen recording. Likewise, ESL Pro League is using anti-cheat mechanisms during matches and keeping tabs on webcams. These measures help in the identification of the players as well as finding extra footage of the broadcast. Some esports teams use different setups like safe environments where players can practice as they compete in tournaments online. Other teams are scattered across different countries, hence the idea of online tournaments makes more sense.

Many fans today stream live the esports on Twitch. For specific events, there is the Esports Calendar site that gives a rundown of the majority of the top esports games. All single events are streamed live, be it a regional qualifier or annual competition. The streams are accessible through the watch button. Examples of games to expect on the Esports Calendar are Apex Legends esports, PUBG esports, Rocket League esports, Street Fighter, Tekken esports, and FIFA 20 esports among others.