July 22, 2020
As stadiums and pro sports leagues shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic, many fans turned to esports for the first time to fill the void.
A new survey from DraftKings of more than a thousand self-identified sports fans found that one in every four fans began watching a new sport during the pandemic. Esports took first place as the most newly-followed sport, followed by international soccer, MMA, and golf.
"I think it's here to stay," Johnny Avello, sportsbook director at DraftKings, told Cheddar Wednesday.
According to the DraftKings survey, 67 percent of those who started following a new sport plan to continue watching it once more traditional sports resume.
"I believe it'll continue to have its users, but when you put it against Major League Baseball, the NBA, NHL, and golf, it may lose a little bit of steam," Avello said. "But it's nice to have it as an option on the lower part of the list."
Fans are most looking forward to the return of the NBA, followed by MLB Opening Day, according to the survey.
But while many may be ready to tune in, one in five fans do not plan to return to stadiums until there is a cure for COVID-19.