Virtual Light in the Sports Blackout: An enduring boost of virtual sports or just a temporary respite?

Egil Trasti Rogstad
Faculty of Social Sciences, Nord University
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While the majority of traditional sports events and activities around the world were cancelled, suspended or postponed after the World Health Organization declared a global pandemic, the eSports industry is growing like never before. As one of the greatest benefits of eSports is that it can be played without physical co-location of participants, it offers an engaging distraction for people at home looking for social interaction during times with social distancing. This scholarly commentary draws on existing eSports research literature and relevant news stories in a discussion of what virtual sports can contribute with during a time of crisis when traditional sports are at a standstill, and what challenges virtual sports will have to face in order to make the boost that it is currently experiencing during the pandemic more than just a temporary respite while traditional sporting activities and events are suspended.

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EGIL TRASTI ROGSTAD is a Ph.D. student at Nord University, Norway. He is interested in exploring gender and inclusion in eSports and is currently researching how various gender stereotypes and inequalities influence eSports players and audiences.


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