VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Even before the pandemic, Electronic sports -- also called Esports -- was having a big moment.
It was on its way to becoming a billion-dollar industry while gaining even more legitimacy from the public as colleges and universities started their own teams and programs.
And now, because most traditional professional and collegiate sports are shut down because of social distancing, the focus has shifted even more towards competitive gaming.
Twitch, one of the world’s biggest streaming platform for gamers, has reportedly seen a surge in viewership from 1.3 million people in January to 2.5 million people in April.
13News Now checked in with ECPI University on Monday. It was the first local school to have a collegiate Esports program.
School officials say while the National Association of Collegiate Esports suspended competition, it hasn’t stopped the team’s momentum. They’re still competing in other tournaments and they practice every day.
Esports has also become a source for major organizations like the NHL and NBA to connect with fans.
Both organizations have used Twitch to stream video game versions of scheduled matchups that were canceled because of COVID-19.