Esports gaining popularity amid COVID-19 pandemic

Entertainment

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – The age of COVID-19 is changing the way people see and take part in sports.

However, with technology and a lot of skill, a new way to get active is bringing in people together by the dozens.

While stadiums have been empty for much of 2020, a new kind of sport doesn’t even need them. All players need is a room with a computer.

Ever since COVID-19 put a pause on mainstream sports like baseball and basketball, esports fandoms have started growing.

The competitions consist of teams playing a video game against each other like, “Overwatch” and “League of Legends.”

The matches are then streamed for fans but are sometimes held in live arenas.

Esports isn’t anything new, not even in the Borderland.

New Mexico State University’s team has been around since 2012 and with the rise of popularity in esports, the NMSU team hopes the community will grow even more.

“Korea is the example that the rest of the world looks at whenever they are wondering where the future of e-sports is going to be,” said Matthew Lenz, NMSU E-sports Team Director. “And so, there it is, it has its own full ecosystem. It has its own tv stations, it has its own organizations, teams and we already see that happening now.”

According to Twitch, a popular streaming platform for gamers, esports viewership has almost doubled since the beginning of the pandemic.

People who take part in e-sports say it involves months and sometimes even years of training to become the best.

“Its just like lifting weights everyday, it sounds kind of, it’s kind of a meme in our community. It’s just that you just click heads. So every day you get on you gotta click the heads get that muscle memory, get that `clicking the heads,” said Enrique Salas, a player for NMSU esports team.

Players and even coaches analyze games after every training to brush up on their skills, just like in conventional sports.

“It’s competitive by nature and that we are competitive by nature. And so to say that it’s not a sport really negates the actual skill and effort that people put into to be good at that kind of stuff,” Salas said.

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