COVID-19 still continues to spread throughout the United States. In reaction, a number of college conferences decided to postpone their college sports seasons. The Big Ten and Pac-12 became the first Power Five conferences to decide the health risks were simply too great at the moment. The other three conferences in the Power Five (Big 12, ACC, SEC) will forge ahead with truncated schedules. The Mountain West also decided to postpone play.
The decision to halt play comes with the loss of massive amounts of money for colleges. According to the NCAA, college sports generated over $10 Billion in 2019. But with the Big 10 and Pac-12 out of the picture, the losses will toll in the tens of millions. If not hundreds. But there is one type of competition that barely slowed during the pandemic. Esports. Could it be the thing that gets Big Ten and Pac-12 sports fans something to talk about!
The Case For Esports
Our On Campus hosts, Norris and Jacob theorize on what the lack of traditional sports could me for esports. While no one is expecting all of the fans and lost revenue to return, Jacob theorized that it could open the door to more esports viewership.
Jacob: But you have these football and basketball fans that are just baked in. It’s their gambling passion. That’s their passion of life. This is what they care about. …There was a Big 12 tournament of Madden aired on ESPN and it got more views on ESPN than on Twitch. Which is a very interesting thing there.
So I think a key to this situation would be if you get those big-name schools. Obviously, we want everyone to be included. But for the ESPN viewers, if you have all of those big-name schools competing. I mean, I don’t I personally think 2K and Madden are competitively viable as say like League or Overwatch. But even if it’s a simulated sport, you can always pull in those fans to start watching an esport and then that can allow ESPN to kind of slowly wean in like, oh, here’s some Overwatch, here’s a MOBA, because, you want to add some things for those fans too.
Norris: And just use it as a gateway drug to get people into more Esports.
Norris and Jacob On How Esports Could Capitalize on No College Sports