Virtual races and FIFA: How the world of sport is coping with COVID

With the world of sport at a complete standstill, all sports leagues around the globe are finding creative ways to keep their fans engaged and to give people some much-needed distraction.

This has happened in many different ways: live-tweeting old games as if they were happening now, broadcasting classic events in their entirety and eSports tournaments with real athletes seem to be the most popular choices.

LaLiga host FIFA tournament

At the forefront have been LaLiga, the Spanish top flight, as they hosted a tournament of FIFA between all 20 teams. Every team chose one of their first-team players to represent the club and all games got live-streamed with commentary from actual LaLiga commentators.

‘LaLiga Santander Challenge’ was won by injured Real Madrid winger Marco Asensio, who beat Leganés forward Aitor Ruibal 4-2 in the final.

The tournament was held to raise money for Spanish hospitals as the country has been one of the biggest victims of the coronavirus pandemic. The target of €100.000 has been exceeded, with €180.000 being raised at time of press.

LaLiga itself has been suspended indefinitely, as was reported earlier today.

READ: La Liga Season Put On Hold Following Coronavirus Outbreak

Virtual Grands Prix

As a global sport, Formula 1 has been heavily impacted too by the COVID-19 outbreak. The first eight Grands Prix have already been postponed or cancelled, with the Azerbaijan Grand Prix being the latest to be postponed.

READ: Azerbaijan Grand Prix Postponed

Until the 2020 season starts back up again – in June at the earliest as it stands – the world of virtual racing, or simracing, has been more active than ever.

Several Formula 1 drivers, past and present, have participated in many online races to keep themselves busy. On Sunday evening, the ‘Virtual Bahrain Grand Prix’ was held, which was broadcasted by Sky Sports F1 and on the F1’s YouTube channel. McLaren driver Lando Norris took part but also the likes of Sir Chris Hoy and Ian Poulter, making for a very chaotic virtual race.

Norris stole the show on his own livestream, however. The 20-year-old rang his F1 colleagues Max Verstappen, Carlos Sainz and George Russell in front of his live audience of 95.000 to give him a word of advice ahead of the virtual race.

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All in all, it is good to see athletes and leagues around the world finding creative ways to pass the time and entertain their fans in such a difficult time.

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