As the current Covid-19 pandemic is slowly inching its way around the world, closing down everything from nations to events alike, many start turning their heads towards Esports. As puntors and bettors suddenly find themselves without any sports to bet on, what many previously saw as the bastard-child of “real” sports is suddenly one of the few things available on the market.
With most of the world staying at home and larger events being cancelled, the betting markets have never been thinner. Nicaraguan and Belarusian football together with Russian Short Hockey are currently some of the most popular options.
While Faroe Islands national league and German Bundesliga are both set to kick off again early May, the question remains; for how long? As Dynamo Dresden had to cancel their opening Bundesliga match due to the whole team being put in quarantine, many wonder: Is the world really ready to open up for sports events again?
Esports – The bettors unlikely hero
Esports have become the unexpected saviour of the jocks and punters. While most of the big leagues have been forced to compete in front of empty seats, the impact made on Esports is almost non-existent compared to the world of traditional sports.
When news reached the world that the English Premier League had been cancelled, the ESL Pro League continued as per usual. As UEFA2020 was postponed until next year, Esports fans worldwide flocked to YouTube in order to tune in to the Hearthstone Grandmasters 2020.
Sports around the world is facing one of the most challenging years in recent history, but online games continue to flourish. As a matter of fact, new competitions are being added to the mix. With the recent release of Halo: Master Chief Collection for Steam, the Halo Championship Series (HCS) is launching the first Halo MCC Pro Series.
One of the most exciting happenings for Esports in these challenging times is that ESPN has entered a partnership with the NBA 2K League. Throughout the 2020 season, the American sports network will broadcast the popular Basketball game on ESPN2, ESPN.com and other formats. Not only does this mark the first appearance of NBA 2K League on US television, but many other nations follow the United States lead. Among others, Canada, LATAM, Australia and some southern African nations will also air the league on either TV or digital streaming platforms. This is without a doubt huge for Esports worldwide.
The more the merrier – A wide Esports audience good for all
As Esports continue to reach out to wider audiences across the world, popularity is peaking and the future looks brighter than ever before. The locked down masses are bored to death with the shady Eastern Football leagues and are craving entertainment. As the eyes of the public are drawn to electronic sports, who knows what will happen to the industry?
As the audience gets bigger, so will the winnings and prizes. But let’s not forget the betting markets. We think it’s pretty safe to assume that the betting companies will include more and more Esports, and that the markets will develop as well. As we all know, the mob rules, and as our favourite games increase their viewer count by thousands, we most certainly can expect to see an increase in available prop-bets, and more.