As the sporting world and its major leagues has all but shut down, fans have become desperate to view any format of action imaginable.
Insert video game simulations pitting artificial intelligence against itself. The medium has become one new way fans have found to access watching their favorite sports.
B/R Betting, one of Bleacher Report’s many accounts, began streaming the matchups on Twitch, allowing followers to vote for who will play on Twitter. The account doesn’t actually take bets, but still sets odds for the point spreads and who will score first so viewers can make bets with friends.
One matchup saw Tom Brady take to the field alongside his new Buccaneers teammates, as they went into Foxborough to take on the Patriots, now led by Brian Hoyer.
The Tampa Bay Lightning has also been using video game simulations to finish off its season. Each remaining game on the regular season schedule is being streamed on Twitch to give fans something to watch while the season's finish is still delayed. The streams are also being used to raise money for the Lightning Foundation which is currently donating funds to Tampa Bay charities helping with COVID-19 relief.
Another high profile event is the Ultimate Quaran-Team put on by the Leyton Orient Football Club. The FIFA event includes 128 participating teams coming from leagues such as Serie A, Eredevisie, La Liga and the top four English divisions.
Players participating are decided by each team with the field consisting of fans, professional esports players and professional footballers. Some of the matches can be found on Twitch accounts setup by the teams while others may eventually be turned into videos for the teams’ other platforms.
The goal of the FIFA tournament is to raise money to help lower-tier football sides in England survive the COVID-19 outbreaks amid financial difficulties, as well as the MIND charity and the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fundraiser by WHO.
With the majority of sports being cancelled indefinitely, events like these are an creative way for sports fanatics to find ways to pass the time until seasons are back in full swing.