With the ongoing Coronavirus outbreak, many sporting events have been postponed or cancelled, movie premiers delayed and even esport events called off. While it is certainly the ethical course of action and the safest thing to do, it doesn’t mean the esports world can’t run tournaments and miss out on entertaining huge global audiences. We can do both and safley too, without risking anyone’s health or wellbeing.
Some of the biggest news has been Rocket league and Overwatch leagues either cancelling part or all of the tournaments planned in the next couple months but is this really necessary in the age of the internet, couldn’t we just run these events fully online ?
With so many aspects of the wider entertainment industry affected by COVID-19 including sporting events, movie premiers etc.. this is a huge opportunity for the entire eSports industry to step up and show the world what we offer.
As for motorsport this couldn’t be anymore obvious, with The opening round of the GT World Challenge called off at Monza, Formula 1 in Bahrain will have no crowd, Formula 1 in China postponed, Formula E postponing events, Sebring 1000 for the WEC cancelled. Surley this is the time to showcase how talented and entertaining the simracing world is, to audiences who may have never thought to give eSports a chance.
There will be millions of motorsport fans over the next few months who will be going without thier scheduled races, this is a great opportunity to spread the word of the virtual world. While there will already be an overlap of traditional motorsport and simracing fans amongst them, there will be thousands if not hundreds of thousands of fans who are yet to give simracing a look in.
With nothing else going, eSport tournaments which where originally planned to be run and broadcast on location, should look to running these events online. No-one needs to leave the safety of thier own home and all they need is an internet connection.
Plenty of qualifying rounds already are planned and broadcast online, so this isn’t a stretch by any means. The infrastructure exists and most events which take place online, already have dedicated teams and the resources on hand.
It’s also a chance for the rights holders to adapt and show a huge hand of support to thier corresponding eSport games, be it Forza Motorsport 7 for WEC, F1 2019 for Formula 1, ACC for The GT World Challenge etc..
With so many high profile drivers now free, get them online racing each other and run the cancelled races in game.
We don’t need fancy stream setups or crazy equipment just a webcam, PC or Console and you would have some of the most popular streams in mere minutes of it going live. Something so unique and exciting it would be a huge boost to the industry, no more dissapointed motorsport fans and i bet just a few new fans to boot.
While nothing can compare to the atmosphere of live events, in the wake of COVID-19, precautions are going to be inevitable but instead of seeing this as ending all the fun, use the technology to work around the problem. The same technology which has allowed dangerous worksites to be run remotley, enables millions of people to connect everyday no matter the geographic distance and has allowed grass roots simracing leagues to stream thier talent to the world on streaming services like Twitch & Youtube.
Simracing won’t replace real world motorsports but it sure can be just as engrossing and exciting, so why not go for it ?
Let the people watch for free online and who knows, maybe ticket sales at real world events begin to grow, interest at grass roots spikes, sales of the games go up and what seemed like an economic disaster, was anything but.