As cases of coronavirus continue to surge in many parts of the world, billions are being asked to practice social distancing or even undergo complete self-isolation in their homes. In theory, this would be the perfect time to settle down in front of your TV and enjoy the distraction and excitement that a good sporting event provides.
Unfortunately, for fans and players alike, virtually all sports have been put on hold indefinitely while each country gets through their pandemic battles at their own pace. This includes the gamut of sports, from team sports like football, basketball and hockey to individual sports like tennis, auto racing and marathons. The summer Olympics has been postponed until 2021 for the first time since World War II.
Athletes and participants in all sports and games are finding their options are severely limited. Local leagues, sports clubs and gyms are mostly shut. Even bars, where you could enjoy a night of billiards or darts, or casinos for some slots or blackjack are all out of bounds in most countries.
So it comes as no surprise that there is a surge of interest and traffic heading over to the virtual world of gaming and sports to enjoy the likes of Formula 1 or NASCAR virtual racing, virtual casinos like Betamo, or traditional e-sports multiplayer mega-titles like DOTA 2, League of Legends and Fortnite.
Pro sports going virtual
The current Formula 1 season is suspended but a large part of the community is getting into the F1 virtual version run on the exact same tracks, with pro commentary, and with the same teams competing featuring many of the actual F1 drivers. We saw the first race, and despite a few technical glitches it was surprisingly fun to watch and authentic. NASCAR is doing an equally good job.
The big North American leagues are also continuing in virtual format, although not as official as the racing series. The NBA season has been moving forward through the NBA 2K20 simulation. and a tournament is being set up featuring many real NBA stars.
Baseball fans, who long all winter for opening in April will have to settle for the entire schedule played out on the Strat-O-Matic baseball game.
Around the world we are finding an interesting mix of virtual options. Several simulated football (i.e. soccer) tournaments and seasons are underway, Sweden has virtual horse-racing, and there’s even virtual ping pong.
There are a lot of sports fan who may prefer being participants rather than passive viewers. For those keen to get involved there are countless online solo, dual and multiplayer sport series, including big tournaments for cash prizes. Many online poker and casino sites have tournament modes as well, and you can even host private tournaments yourself and invite friends and family.
With so many people trapped for days and weeks in their homes there has been a huge surge in time spent playing video games. To fight the sense of isolation and disconnect from others a lot of people are making use of modern video conferencing apps, particularly Zoom, and watching and chatting with friends while playing against each other.
Stay healthy, entertained and connected
Eventually the pandemic will ease up, governments will give up on strict isolation measures, and life will return to a new normal. In the meantime, do your best to stay healthy, informed, entertained and connected with others.