The COVID-19 pandemic has relegated live sports from the top of the podium as the most watched and lucrative part of TV schedules. At the same time, the enforced social distancing, school closures and home working has prompted audiences across all age groups to spend more time on video on demand, social media and, in a big way, gaming.
As a result, new types of competitive electronic sports are gaining participants and, more importantly for TV, viewership. From drone racing to battle robots, the rise of alternative sports is blossoming. By far the most popular is video gaming esports, with 450+ million viewers globally – and figures show its following growing rapidly as it has emerged as the main live alternative to physical sports during the coronavirus crisis.