With the continuing developments of the COVID-19 pandemic, much of the sports world looks to the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) and its attempt to resume league play. While there is progress and shared optimism in China, the CBA continues to struggle in building a coronavirus-free atmosphere for players and fans alike.
Leagues around the world have begun to consider alternatives to live-action sporting events. Varying leagues stand at different points in the midst of the pandemic in their respective countries.
Most recently, TUDN, a United States-based Spanish-language sports network, has partnered up with the Liga MX, Mexico’s first division soccer league, to broadcast their new esports competition, the “eLigaMX by BBVA Tournament.”
The 18 Liga MX clubs will compete through EA Sports FIFA 20 across PlayStation 4 consoles. Each club will be represented by three players from its current roster who will compete virtually through their real-life team in a 17-match season. Playing through the online EA servers, the players will respect the call for social distancing by playing from their homes.
The tournament began on Friday, April 10, and resembles the standard tournament rules. Teams will play on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Following the end of the regular season, the top eight teams will advance to a playoff bracket with a single elimination ruleset.
In an effort to mirror the authenticity of live matches, the match will include play-by-play commentary provided by the broadcasters of TUDN. Also included will be special guest commentary from current players of the Liga MX and other invited guests. The matches will be telecasted across their television platforms on Univision, on the web through TUDN.com as well as their mobile app, TUDN.
In addition to the match, TUDN will be providing pre- and post-game coverage. The 90 minute match will virtually be shortened to 12 minutes in real time. Including the coverage, each individual clash is scheduled to last around an hour.
The Liga MX is following in the footsteps of other sports organizations who have previously developed a form of esports tournaments, most notably NASCAR, Major League Rugby and the National Basketball Association.
During these uncertain times, the Liga MX and its new endeavor has the potential to return a degree of normalcy to its fan base as well as the players and the institutions they represent. Numerous sports organizations alike could consider an alternative to live athletic action as they attempt to maintain relevance in an indefinite suspension through esports platforms.