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Could esports win amid sport disruptions?

Digital tournaments could be recognised as "a programming option for the future"

Esports is expected to fill the content gap caused by disruptions to the sporting schedule amid coronavirus measures, Futuresource Consulted has suggested.

As traditional broadcasters, as well as the likes of Netflix, Disney Plus and Apple TV, announce production suspensions, football, basketball and sim-racing teams are poised to offer digital tournaments.

The move could help sports teams maintain engagement with younger fans, for instance the EFL League 2 club Leyton Orient has set up a 128-team FIFA tournament called Ultimate Quaranteam, where teams are represented by their esports athletes.

Futuresource said: “A short-term benefit of these initiatives to the industry will be boosts in viewership figures for popular streaming sites such as Amazon owned Twitch, YouTube Gaming and Microsoft’s Mixer, with idle consumers looking for new ways to view their favourite sports in lieu of actual fixtures.

“There remain challenges to this transition however, with traditional broadcasters likely to struggle to implement the required broadcasting techniques to take advantage of this rapidly changing situation and opportunity. It may however signal to these broadcasters that this may be a programming option for the future, a move already made by certain sports broadcasters in the US.”