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Pro Drivers getting involved in Esports
Sports have gone online during the coronavirus pandemic as numerous competitions are moving to the virtual realm. Governments around the world canceled horse racing, motor racing, and other events to reduce the spread of coronavirus. While some people are adapting to this new virtual world, others are struggling to keep up with online activities.
The coronavirus pandemic has created confusion in the schedules of sports events and tournaments since March. Big events, including the British Open, the Wimbledon championship, and the Olympics, decided to postpone until 2021. Many major sporting events suspended activities or planned to work in the offseason. Sports such as soccer, motor racing, horse racing, and golf are about to begin. Major sports teams will continue to perform in the United States without the audience during the event.
F1 and Coronavirus
As the situation in this pandemic is constantly evolving, it was unknown when racing would resume. However, F1 CEO Chase Carey announced on April 27th that they would resume the Europe event through July. As they promised, the season’s opening was in Austria on 3-5 July. However, there was no audience to experience the race.
Many of the important events of the season were postponed rather than canceled. These events include:
- Monaco Grand Prix (canceled)
- Spanish Grand Prix (postponed)
- Canadian Grand Prix (postponed)
- Dutch Grand Prix (postponed)
- Azerbaijan Grand Prix (postponed)
- Chinese Grand Prix (postponed)
- Vietnam Grand Prix (postponed)
- Bahrain Grand Prix (postponed)
- Australian Grand Prix (canceled)
Esports to the Rescue
As we are diving towards the new reality of social isolation, many people are distracting themselves from this serious global health crisis. It is hard to believe that almost every sport has canceled or postponed its planned events. However, it has opened the flood gates to esports which has seen an unprecedented rise in participation and interest since March, as reported in this study by OLBG.com.
We got a taste for how instantly a sport can take to the new medium recently when Formula One took to the screens with the world premiere of the Esports Virtual Grand Prix. This comprises participants (both professional drivers and esports enthusiasts from the public) driving simulations mimicking the race car experience from their homes. This drew a huge crowd on Twitch and YouTube and pushed the prize pools up. There are now esports drivers beating their professional F1 heroes.
With no live racing activities on the calendar for some time, more e-sport events are taking up those empty slots. Never before have sports stars been so accessible to their fans, nor the barriers to participation in the sport (even if not exactly the same) so low, so we’re excited to see what lies ahead in motor racing and esports. For instance, NASCAR’s popularity increased during the 1979 Daytona 500. The same year, people from the East Coast were trapped in their homes because of a blizzard. Possibly COVID-19 will also prove to be the same watershed for e-sports.