We’ve all missed watching live sports this year, whether it be on the TV or in the crowd of chanting fans. With the Olympics being cancelled, fans not allowed into the grounds, and many sporting competitions delayed or rescheduled it’s been a rough year for sports. Though, that being said there is one vein of sports which has kept fans entertained- Esports!

Whether you’re a fan of MOBA’s like League of Legends and DOTA 2, or your heart lies with FPS games like Call of Duty and Rainbow Six Siege there is an esports league and competition to satisfy.

Esports aren’t a new craze though, they’ve been around for a good few years and have achieved some crazy viewing figures in the past. In 2019 the League of Legends championship final peaked at an insane 3.9 million viewers, the current highest figures within esports. That being said, Esports, like live sports, does have crowds. In 2017 the IEM Katowice had an in-person audience of 173,000 within the Spodak arena in Poland. This event showed competitions in three games, CSGO, League of Legends, and StarCraft II.

As well as insane viewer numbers and crowds, these competitions aren’t without their own eye-watering prize pools. In 2019 the winning team of the International in DOTA2 took home a jaw-dropping $15,620,181 for taking first place. On a more individual basis, Danish player Johan “N0tail” Sundstein has earned nearly $7 million in prize money so far in his career playing for the organization known as OG, making him the highest-paid professional player across every game.

All these numbers, as impressive as they are, don’t really tell you why you should watch esports, or at least give it a go. Personally, I adore watching the Rainbow Six Siege prologue (let’s go G2!) and I love watching it because I know I could never be that good. Trust me, I’ve tried! Watching people do insane plays which I can only dream of achieving. Watching those last-minute clutches and nail-biting moments, listening to the excitement and amazement in the commentator’s voices, it’s gripping. Watching the competitive play of a game you enjoy and play is amazing.

It also teaches you tips and tricks! Watching how a professional achieves certain things or uses particular team tactics that you can then utilize in your own games and hopefully become that little bit better.

One of the other appeals of watching Esports, especially from a site like Twitch.tv is the ability to communicate with other spectators in real-time through the chat box. Being able to spam the chat with your own cheer and connect with other fans and discuss what’s going on. Being a part of that chat replicates the feel of being in that live crowd and being among other people of a similar mindset and passion- all from the comfort of your own home!

Esports is a massively growing industry, and it’s only going to get bigger in the coming years as the entertainment industry realizes the money and potential within it. The stages, prize money, talent and overall scale are bound to keep getting better and better. And in this time of quarantine and lockdown, it can maybe satiate our desire to watch live sports a little!