TV networks are already trying to fill the void in sports coverage left by the COVID-19 pandemic, but ESPN is going all-out. The broadcaster’s ESPN2 channel is airing a 12-hour ESPN Esports Day on April 5th starting at 12PM Eastern, and there will be some high-profile live events in the mix. The highlight may be the second F1 Esports Virtual Grand Prix at 3PM, when racers (including some current Formula 1 drivers) will compete online in a digital version of Australia’s Albert Park. The marathon will also represent Rocket League‘s debut on ESPN television (it was only streamed before) with the Season 8 World Championship’s Grand Finals broadcasting live at 4:30PM.
You can also expect to see the next phase of the NBA 2K Players Tournament at 6PM, when players like Devin Booker and Andre Drummond hitting the virtual basketball court. After that, much of the programming involves recaps. The first three hours of the marathon are recaps of Madden NFL 20 competitions like the Classic, Club Championship and Challenge, while Apex Legends fans can revisit the EXP Pro-Am at 10PM.
Whether or not you see more like this may depend on viewership, but it’s easy to see ESPN doing this again. Without conventional sports to show during the pandemic, much of the network’s very reason for being has gone away. Events like Esports Day give ESPN something to offer until it’s safe enough to resume in-person competition.
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