IS E-sport sport's new normal?

It’s clear that sport is not the most important issue in the world currently.

The Covid-19 pandemic is a health crisis which has brought the sporting world to a complete standstill.

But don't underestimate the role sport plays in our lives. It is a distraction to many and helps bring the world together. Whether as fans or participants, it is the glue for so many of our social interactions each week.

I always try to look for solutions or alternatives to an obstacle rather than narrowing my focus solely on the problem until it consumes me.

There is no better example of how to take this approach than to the one sport seems to have taken to get round the coronavirus.

In the last few weeks it is as if the world of traditional sport has started to merge with the world of E-sports.

Have we reached an end to the “singularity” of sport?

The possibility of E-sports entering the Olympic arena has been a hugely debated subject in recent years.

It is a notion which has encountered lots of resistance.

But the fact is that many sports struggle to attract a younger audience where E-sports are filling stadiums in certain parts of the world.

As long as that continues, it will be hard to ignore the impact they are having.

While Dana White plans to create a UFC fighter island, where fighters will train and compete, other athletes have chosen embraced the virtual world.

When Olympic gold medallist Jan Frodeno completed a full Ironman triathlon in his home, he highlighted the power virtual sport has to play during this health crisis.

Both Moto GP and Formula 1 have taken to racing via the E-sport world and even Andy Murray is heading to a virtual Madrid Open later this month. So even if you’re not a fan of E-sports, it is hard to ignore their importance right now.

As I sit in my living room, I am too nosey to stop myself from noticing my neighbour's TV screen.

He is always watching sport. In fact, it’s all he watches. So currently he is watching all the replays, but how many replays can we really watch?

Does E-sport offer a new way that we will interact in the future?

With cycling clubs offering club rides via online platforms with Team Ineos live on Zwift, you can tell we witnessing a change in sport.

I know I sat with 20,000 other cycling fans watching a live stream of world time trial champion Rohan Denis winning the Ineos team race on Zwift.

That race also saw a return to racing after lengthy injury concerns from Chris Froome with a top 10 finish.

A modest number you might say compared to the millions who watch the Tour De France, but MotoGP reported that millions watched their E-sports race.

Many sports around the world are now looking at ways of moving to a virtual world, and with ESPN2 airing over 12 hours of E-sports, you could argue that we are verging upon a new normal of sport.

Maybe it is one positive out of our current situation; that there is an opportunity there for traditional sports to start to attract a wider audience from the E-sport world back to the world of traditional sport.

But for now it is just exciting to see how many athletes have embraced the opportunity to still compete.

I must admit I am enjoying my virtual interactions on Zwift each day and have now started racing in the British Cycling 10mile time trial every Thursday at 12:20pm.

HeraldScotland:

It is a far cry from donning a race suit, warming up in a lay-by by the side of a road on a cold Scottish evening before riding as hard as you can to either catch your minute man or to not be caught by the person behind you.

But it is racing, and it gives you the opportunity to set goals each week and to give your training some purpose.

Another positive event during this current crisis for cycling fans is that we can ride alongside the pros. More than 15000 people joined the Team Ineos peloton last week and currently hundreds of riders each day are riding along side Geraint Thomas as he does three days of 12hr cycling shifts to replicate a NHS worker to raise money for the NHS.

Frodeno also provided the opportunity to join him on both the cycling and running parts of his virtual stay-at-home ironman.

Covid-19 provides many uncertainties to our world, but I know as much as possible how beneficial engaging in sport can be, both for our mental and physical health.

It is important you set some form of time management schedule for your time at home.

You need to be disciplined with this and allow time for both work and self care - alongside participating each day in some exercise.

And if you have never explored the world of combining your exercise with the virtual world, maybe now is the time?