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Esports takes spotlight amid COVID-19 pandemic

Courtesy of Pixabay
Esports often takes the form of organized, multiplayer video game competitions, particularly between professional players, individually or as teams.

The popularity of esports has spiked over the past couple of weeks amongst the coronavirus pandemic, which has essentially forced people to stay home to prevent the spread of the virus. Most people spend the day watching shows on Netflix, doing athome workouts, or playing video games, which is a popular pastime.  

Esports is a form of competitive online gaming and can be played professionally in an individual outlet or multiplayer competitions 

Among the most popular streaming platforms that broadcast esports competitions include YouTube and TwitchThe industry itself generates a substantial amount of revenue and the games generate millions of views from fans across the globe.  

There were more than 458 million viewers worldwide of esports competitions which saw a year-onyear growth of 15%.

Now that various professional sports leagues have suspended play, such as the National Hockey League and Major League Baseball, simulations of these sports, which are videogame generated outcomes of multiple games, have become popular on Instagram and Twitter.  

In the city of El Paso, the Honey Badgers, which is a local esports league offers members an opportunity to play video games while allowing an outlet from reality. 

We are a resource for a lot of people an offer an escape from the reality of the world,” said President of the Honey Badgers Caroline Salas. “It is unfortunate the time that we are going through but through gaming, it is a nice release and we offer a safe area and it is good for people to escape,” Salas said. “More recently, there has been an increase in our Twitch streaming viewership, which hosts competitions.”  

 Traditional sports such as basketball and baseball can now be exchanged with classic games such as Mario Kart, Call of Duty and Minecraft. 

There has been an increase in members  starting with 20 to 40 and now we have over 280 members – and during this time, people still like to be active and we offer a way to stay active with fellow gamers,” member Alex Villa said. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused the city of El Paso to issue a “Stay Home, Work Safe” order, which enforces the idea that residents should not travel for leisure but essential purposes. 

This order has called for adjustments for residents of El Paso and the world of esports is no exception. 

“We are growing as a leaguebut we are still trying to keep the social aspect of gaming and figure out different methods and ways to adjust to the current scenario,” said Mike Pitcher co-founder and adviser of the Honey Badger league.  

Moving forward, the world of esports can be an excellent means of staying competitive and active in the absence of more popular sports and an outlet from the current tough times we are facing as a country. 

“When I first joined the Honey Badgers, I just fell in love with the atmosphere and it is a place where I truly feel comfortable,” Villa said. 

Honey Badgers Twitch Account: 

Isaiah Ramirez may be reached at [email protected] 

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About the Contributor
Isaiah Ramirez
Isaiah Ramirez is a senior multimedia journalism major at the University of Texas at El Paso. Isaiah has worked for the university’s paper The Prospector since Spring 2018 and has held the position as a sports editor and is currently a reporter at the publication. During the fall semesters he also works as an on-air reporter for Football Friday Nights a weekly radio show showcasing local football games broadcasted by 600 ESPN El Paso. He covers local news as well as local and UTEP sporting events such as football, men’s and women’s basketball, and has covered the annual Hyundai Sun Bowl game and two-time NBA champion Danny Green’s basketball camp here in the Sun City.
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Esports takes spotlight amid COVID-19 pandemic