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SOCIALLY-DISTANCED SPORTS

Check out the latest update on sports in the era of Covid-19

The Covid-19 pandemic has had a major impact on the global sports industry. The resulting lack of live sports events has been tough on fans, given no marathons, no Masters, no March Madness, and no Wimbledon, NBA, or NHL (to name a few). While traditional teams (and even the upcoming Olympics) sit out, new initiatives and programming aim to fill the void. Read on to learn about today's content initiatives, which offer sports fans the entertainment and collective watching experiences they crave.

FOX NASCAR IRACING

No races? No problem. In place of the cancelled live NASCAR races fans go wild for, NASCAR and Fox Sports have teamed up to debut the eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series. The “simulation-style” 90-minute eSport competitions will feature professional NASCAR drivers, such as NASCAR Hall of Fame driver Bobby Labonte, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kyle Busch, and Denny Hamlin, as well as Fox NASCAR commentators such as Jeff Gordon. With recent eSports events drawing millions of viewers (even as the events themselves aren’t yet embraced at a mass, mainstream level), this initiative is sure to bring even more attention and awareness to virtual competitions.

HISTORY, NOW

To mitigate the conspicuous absence of live sports programming, ESPN is moving quickly to strategize how to give sports fans their fill. One initiative offers die-hard fans the chance to rewatch archival footage of classic sports games; another is the early release of a highly-anticipated docu-series on Michael Jordan’s last season with the Chicago Bulls (the series was originally slated for release in June, in proximity to the NBA Finals). Additionally, both the NFL and NBA announced they will offer complimentary access to their digital subscription services, allowing socially-distancing fans to immerse themselves in an extensive archive of on-demand and historic sports programming.

MARBLE RACING

This age-old sporting event has a newfound uptick in viewers thanks to YouTube—and Covid-19. Video content of marble racing is delighting viewers due to its simplicity and overall entertainment factor. The ‘sport’ involves videos of colorful marbles racing through handmade courses, while viewers mentally bet on winners. The YouTube channel Jelle’s Marble Runs has some of the most popular marble racing videos, which are racking up millions of views and thousands of subscribers. Once you tune in, you’ll be watching tournaments and betting on ‘teams’ before you know it.