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Will E-Sports take over all of the other sports?

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Gaming has become more and more common as the past couple of decades have gone on. While it was once frowned upon and misunderstood or even blamed for many evils such as bullying and school shootings, it’s become more and more prevalent in this technology-driven 21st century. The world has changed in general and many have started asking questions that just a few decades ago would have been unthinkable. And among other previously unimaginable things, a question has arisen in recent years – can cybersports overtake physical sports and in general all other sport types? While just a decade ago the answer might have been a fast and resounding no, today it’s gotten a bit shakier since a whole new industry of cybersports has risen and no one knows for certain in which direction it will go.

Many have begun to wonder if it can compete with or maybe even overtake traditional sports. Is it just another trend, something to busy ourselves with for a while or is it going to be a lasting sport that joins the long line of respected sport types and maybe even gets enlisted in the Olympics? And there are actually quite a few reasons behind this. For one thing, online gaming has become massively popular as it is, but with the rise of the Covid-19 virus, things can change even further. For over a year, or in some countries even to this day, people practically locked themselves up at home and, in a way, many got used to that more passive lifestyle. Many people even started perceiving outdoor activities as almost dangerous. This is especially beneficial for online sports since its gameplay is much more accessible than traditional sports, mostly because it does not require much in terms of physical presence but also because it doesn’t require any physical training. All of this evens out the playing field in the esports vs sports debacle.

Another point that kind of shows the future of the field and how it’s expanding is the fact that more and more pro gamers are joining the leagues and this means that the number of people even interested in becoming a gamer is rising as well. Plus, the number of fans who follow the industry is increasing. The audience is expected to grow to 260 million viewers by the year 2022. The League of Legends tournaments alone can sometimes garner larger audiences than major leagues in the US, with 58 million viewers as opposed to the 38 million that the MLB World Series could provide.  What’s especially important is that online gaming is a sport that anyone all over the world can join since it doesn’t require much. Be it the fans following a game or the pros themselves – people very rarely need to travel to other places halfway across the globe to be aware of events and can sometimes even participate in those events remotely. There are no language barriers to playing esports games or any geographical restrictions and this certainly appeals to the global audience. This, of course, could play a huge part in its future success.

Cybersports could also be a part of future Olympic Games and that would be a big deal and a huge step forward for the sport. You must be wondering why is that? Well, lately, there has been a major push to include cybersports in the Olympics and while it’s not yet confirmed, such a change would drastically impact the growth of the sport for the better. The Olympics are an internationally recognized, respected, and renowned multi-sport event. And if electronic sports are included it will immediately boost its reputation and recognition. Plus, betting on the cybersport industry is a booming business right now, especially if we’re talking about betting on top esports games. And, of course, since business is involved, the push towards expanding the field will only go further.

And all in all, you could say that the reputation of cybersports is rising and blooming by the day. Kids today have started to talk about the famous gamer Ninja (real name Tyle Blevins) with such admiration as if he is the new Lebron James or Lionel Messi. Both adults and teens follow his games with great attention and analyze every move he makes. Blevins has over 12 million followers and gets an average of 72,000 views during competitions. And when a player representing the industry reaches such massive popularity it’s basically a testament to the rise of the sport and its expansion. Currently, the only US league overshadowing esports is the NFL, which is huge considering the NFL is the biggest sport in the States right now and has been for some time. But wouldn’t you know it, cybersports is actually catching up to American Football! With things going this way, it’s not a surprise at all that the industry is seen as a booming one and a legitimate competitor of traditional physical sports that could actually replace those.

But still, the main question remains: will cybersports actually and fully overtake traditional sports? Well, it’s not all so easy. You see, while it is true that virtual gaming has been growing almost by the day, there’s no telling how constant or stable that growth is. Plus, as much as it has been expanding, it’s still vastly behind traditional sports in terms of funding and above all else, revenue. The more traditional sports organizations own and run large physical locations and so they have more opportunities of earning money from many different factors such as broadcasting rights. The difference is in billions. So, no matter how far cybersports may have come, it still has a long way to go until it can be considered a competitor to other sport types. And while many esports tournaments are held all year round and many more will come, until the sport can bring revenue of the same size as any of the traditional physical sports, it’s too soon for gamers to claim victory in this matter.

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TRAIKOS: The NHL apparently wants McDavid and the Oilers to miss the playoffs – Toronto Sun

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Edmonton’s playoff hopes took a serious hit on Thursday, with the 13th-place team losing 6-0 to Florida. It was the Oilers’ seventh straight loss — and their 13th loss in the past 15 games — and it put them six points back of San Jose for the final Wild Card spot in the West.

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The team needs Evander Kane more than ever, as well as an upgrade in net and possibly a new voice behind the bench.

Based on what lies ahead, it could also use a ventilator.

On Wednesday, the league released its revised schedule for all the games that had been postponed due to COVID-19. Mostly, the NHL’s schedule makers just crammed a bunch of games (95 in total) during the three-week window that was originally blocked off for the Olympic break.

Now, there is no break. And for the Oilers, who play their final 46 games over 98 days — roughly a game every other day for the next three months — there’s little chance to take even the slightest of breaths.

Seriously, what did Connor McDavid ever do to Gary Bettman to get him so angry? Edmonton’s path to the post-season is not just an uphill climb — it’s now also littered with potholes, as well as several back-to-backs and a couple of insane stretches where they will play three games in four nights.

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Even if they manage to survive this gauntlet and sneak into the playoffs, what’s the point if they won’t have anything left in the tank?

Of course, it’s not just Edmonton that will be challenged in the weeks ahead.

Every team got a bunch of games dumped on their lap next month. Winnipeg now has 10 games in 17 days, while Montreal will play eight games in 15 days.

All it means is that February, which typically represented the dog days of the calendar might now be the most pivotal month on the schedule.

Depth is going to be tested like never before. You better have a backup goalie, because you’re going to need him. And you better have a fourth line that plays more than six minutes a night.

For Edmonton, this could be just a little problematic.

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The Oilers don’t have a backup goalie. These days, they don’t even have a No. 1 that they trust. As for spreading the minutes around, Oilers’ defenceman Darnell Nurse is averaging the second-most ice time of any player in the NHL, while Leon Draisaitl and McDavid are logging more minutes than any other forward.

With the team chasing the pack — and playing from behind in most games — there’s little chance that their ice time will be decreased. If anything, it’s probably going to be going up, especially if Dave Tippett is still coaching.

After all, the Oilers can’t afford to have another losing month. They can barely afford to have another losing week.

With so many games scheduled in so few days, the playoff picture is coming into focus faster than ever. By the end of the month, we should have a clear indication of where teams stand heading into the March 21 trade deadline.

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That is, if any teams are left standing by then.

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TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS

Record: 24-10-3, 51 points (3rd in Atlantic)

Games rescheduled: 9

The result: From Jan. 31 to Feb. 27, Toronto plays 12 games in 29 days. But that is still less than the 14 games they played in the month of November.

What it means: The Leafs got off real easy. They now have two back-to-backs scheduled, but one is a home-and-home against Devils — meaning both teams will be at a disadvantage — and the other features the 10th-place Blue Jackets and the last-place Canadiens If anything, this could be Toronto’s chance to put points in the bank.

OTTAWA SENATORS

Record: 11-20-2, 24 points (9th in Atlantic)

Games rescheduled: 15

The result: The Senators’ schedule looks completely different. They now have 10 new games in February — including two that were originally scheduled for April and got moved up. Too bad fans won’t be allowed in the building for most of those games.

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What it means: Though Ottawa is probably not going to make the playoffs, there had been talk that the Senators would be playing games in May. That didn’t happen. But there are 16 games in April, at a time when the 31st overall team could be playing meaningless hockey.

MONTREAL CANADIENS

Record: 8-25-6, 22 points (10th in Atlantic)

Games rescheduled: 12

The result: During a three-week span in February, Montreal will play eight games in 15 days. All but one of those games is at home, which might not be a good thing based on how the team has been playing.

What it means: Not a whole lot. It’s a pity the NHL even bothered to reschedule Montreal’s games. All it does is delay the inevitable.

CALGARY FLAMES

Record: 18-11-6, 42 points (5th in Pacific)

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Games rescheduled: 10

The result: The revised schedule includes three back-to-backs in February and increases the number of games they’ll play in the month from four to 11. But Calgary also gets seven straight games at home.

What it means: Compared to the teams they’re jockeying with for playoff positions, the Flames got off relatively easy. Their toughest stretch is a back-to-back against Vegas and Toronto. But they are book-ended with games against Arizona and the New York Islanders, which should allow Calgary to breathe while others might be running out of breath.

VANCOUVER CANUCKS

Record: 18-18-3, 39 points (6th in Pacific)

Games rescheduled: 7

The result: Vancouver will play six of the seven rescheduled games during what was supposed to be the Olympic break (Feb. 7 to 22). All but one of those games are at home. Consider it payback for what the league put the Canucks through a year ago.

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What it means: If you were hoping the Canucks had a shot at grabbing a wild card spot, you’re probably feeling optimistic right now. Sure, they still have to win those games. But considering that the team is 10-3-1 since Bruce Boudreau stepped behind the bench, would it surprise anyone if Vancouver ends up with the most points out of the Canadian teams out West?

EDMONTON OILERS

Record: 18-16-2, 38 points (7th in Pacific)

Games rescheduled: 9

The result: Someone in the league office does not appear to be an Oilers fan. How else do you explain that Edmonton now comes out of the All-Star Game (in which Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl are both attending) and immediately plays eight games in 13 days? Or that the team twice plays three games in four nights?

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What it means: Kiss those playoffs goodbye! Seriously, this schedule is going to reveal what the Oilers are made of. This has already been a difficult season for McDavid and Draisaitl, who are feeling the pressure like never before. Now, they have to chase a playoff spot while running on fumes, with the team staring down a five-game road swing at the end of February against Tampa Bay, Florida, Carolina, Philadelphia and Chicago.

WINNIPEG JETS

Record: 17-13-6, 40 points (5th in Central)

Games rescheduled: 9

The result: From Feb. 11 to Feb. 21, Winnipeg plays seven games in 11 days.

What it means: After playing six times in the past four weeks, the Jets are going to be busy in February. There are now 12 games scheduled, with 11 of them coming in the final three weeks of the month. The team will pretty much be playing every other night — or every night, considering there are three back-to-backs also scheduled. And because six of those games are against divisional rivals, this should be a make-or-break month for Winnipeg.

mtraikos@postmedia.com

twitter.com/Michael_Trakos

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Bombers sign All-Star OT Bryant – TSN

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The two-time defending Grey Cup champion Winnipeg Blue Bombers re-signed another cornerstone player on Friday, inking All-Star offensive tackle Stanley Bryant to a one-year contract. 

The 35-year-old was selected as the CFL’s Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman for a third time in his career this season in addition to being named to his sixth All-Star team.

The Bombers also signed All-Star linebacker Adam Bighill as well as starting quarterback and Most Outstanding Player Zach Collaros to extensions this week. 

Bryant had played in 103 consecutive games for the Bombers since arriving in Winnipeg in 2015 before that streak came to an end in November. 

The East Carolina product also won a Grey Cup with the Calgary Stampeders in 2014. 

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Soccer-Brazil to stop unvaccinated footballers playing in top leagues

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The Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) said on Friday players must be vaccinated against COVID-19 to take part in this year’s league championship,

The CBF said it was in constant contact with health bodies and had sent an updated list of requirements to member clubs.

“One of these is the obligation to present a full vaccination certificate against COVID-19 to the CBF’s Medical Commission,” it said in a statement.

The top four national divisions kick off in the second week of April.

Brazil coach Tite has said he was not selecting Atletico Madrid defender Renan Lodi for his squad for upcoming World Cup qualifiers because he was not fully vaccinated.

The issue of athletes’ stance on vaccines has dominated sports headlines recently after tennis player Novak Djokovic, who is unvaccinated, was deported ahead of the Australian Open.

 

(Reporting by Andrew Downie; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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