Japan’s pro-football league steps in as an alternative for would-be NFL, XFL and CFL players; Esports continues to see giant increases in viewership; and South Korea gears up for its KBO opening day on May 5. For these stories and more, check out our weekly Global Sports Update:
Japan: All Mitsubishi Lions Sign Former Denver Broncos DL, Paul Boyette, Jr.
Japan X-League’s All Mitsubishi Lions signed Paul Boyette Jr. to play defensive tackle for the 2020 season. Boyette, Jr. played his college career at the University of Texas before going on to the NFL, where he played for the Raiders and Broncos. The signing is significant, as Japan becomes an attractive alternative for prospective and former NFL players, particularly with the recent bankruptcy of the XFL.
Global Baseball Fans are Kept Entertained by Just Four Taiwanese Pro-Teams
Taiwan’s Chinese Professional Baseball League is supplying the world with its only current source of live professional baseball.. The matches are being played to empty stadiums, with audience members replaced by cardboard cut-outs of fans in the seats.
E-Sports Pro League Increases Viewership by 215%
The ESL Pro League has seen its viewership rise by 215% in the wake of COVID-19. The e-sports league was forced to move their competitions online after having to cancel their in-person tournament in Denver.
Gaming in the Time of Coronavirus
Video games have been one of the most reliable forms of at-home entertainment during the Covid-19 pandemic. The U.S. alone has seen a 75% increase in video game usage during peak hours. China’s most popular games collectively have received an increase in daily active users from 65 million to 100 million.
ONE Championship Rankings Dominated by Japanese Fighters
ONE Championship, the most prestigious fighting league in Asia, has compiled a ranking of their fighters which heavily features Japanese athletes at the top. ONE Championship is seen as the Asian alternative to UFC, and is prominent throughout East and Southeast Asia.
South Korea Baseball and Soccer Season to Kick Off Early May
The Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) announced the regular baseball season will begin on May 5. The Korean Professional Football league also announced that their season will start on May 9th . With European soccer still on hold, television companies from international markets have bought the rights to the K-League to give their audiences live soccer action.
Online Tournaments Keep Southeast Asian Esports Revenues Flowing
The League of Legends Pacific Championship Series in Southeast Asia is now running on schedule after resolving disruptive technical issues. Commercial revenues have continued to flow for live-streamed esports events.
NBA Partners with Fanatics to Produce Cloth Face Masks Amid COVID-19 Pandemic
The NBA has officially begun selling cloth face coverings featuring all 30 teams to help protect the health and safety of fans amid the COVID-19 outbreak.