A pan-European TV network is joining ESPN in broadcasting virtual races while motorsport is shut down due to COVID-19. Eurosport has signed a deal to broadcast Torque Esports’ The Race All-Star Series on cable, satellite, IPTV and streaming (both live and on-demand). As the name implies, the rFactor 2-based championship pits conventional and virtual pro racers against each other online, including in a Legends Trophy event with famous drivers like Jenson Button and Jacques Villeneuve.
The final round of the first series takes place on April 26th at 6PM CET (12PM Eastern), but the second series is already set to begin on May 1st.
As with ESPN, Fox Sports and others, this deal is forged in no small part by desperation. When there are effectively no live real-world competitions, sports networks have little else to air besides reruns and league business updates. Online races like this give them something live to show. With that said, this could do still more to push esports into the mainstream. The Eurosport expansion brings coverage to over 150 countries — even if viewership is lower than for a physical league like Formula 1, it could still bring esports to a much wider audience than before the pandemic.
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