A few months ago we had never watched an Esport event and would never have thought it conceivable that such events could replace live sport on a regular basis. Fast forward a few months and global events have firmly put Esports on our radar and forced a rethink of this stance.
With the pandemic bringing live sport to an abrupt end on a global scale back in March, the two sporting worlds have joined to fill this void, with virtual Etournaments surging in popularity. The Virtual Grand Prix Series has taken the baton from Formula 1, providing fans with an alternative form of entertainment. Alternatively, cricket seems to be next on the list with the Ecricket World Series set to be launched on 1st August. There are recent examples of companies looking to capitalise on the promise of Esports. Take OS Studios, a New York based sports production venue that opened its doors in 2019. They have one of the leading Esports offerings in the world and recently hosted an NFL ETournament for the US Navy.
What does this mean for sport? Is this the end of 'rain stops play' and the emergence of 'internet stops play'? Joking aside, this does pose an interesting question and an insurable opportunity. Esports events rely heavily on technology. Existing media and technology liability policies may yet not go far enough to protect tech providers and Esport event hosts from the potential financial implications of transmission failures or system glitches for which they may be liable.
Great to see Beazley have recently publicised their intent to support this growing market (here) and no doubt more carriers will follow suit.
On top of that, home internet connections were often not up to it. “You had drivers in places as far apart as Brazil and New Zealand, so the delays were through the roof,” says Southwell. “By the time they saw the starting lights go out, everyone else had already crashed.” Southwell had to stop watching.