(Reuters) – Sports fans and players across the world frustrated by canceled matches because of the coronavirus epidemic are turning to e-sports, with professional real-world athletes joining virtual game tournaments of football, auto racing and basketball.
“We’ve seen a dramatic increase in viewership” for e-sports broadcasts, said Todd Sitrin, senior vice president of Electronic Arts Inc’s Competitive Gaming Division, adding that the maker of battle-royale sensation “Apex Legends” saw an increase of two to three times its normal viewership in the first quarter of 2020.
“All the traditional sports have suspended their seasons and their broadcasts, so what we’ve seen is that fans are really searching for a way to get their sports fix”, Sitrin said.
E-sports tournaments are largely available on game streaming platforms like Twitch, YouTube Gaming, Facebook Gaming and Mixer and are also broadcasted on TV channels including ESPN and Fox Sports.
Online streaming platforms recorded a