eSports have been thrust into the spotlight now that all the professional sports leagues are taking a knee during COVID-19, and that means some until-now little-known stocks are going to make a name for themselves.
One of those could be Canadian eSports racing company Torque eSports (Torque eSports Stock Quote, Chart, News TSXV:GAME), which according to portfolio manager Robert McWhirter is making the most of the lockdown to pull in viewers.
Gaming in general and eSports in particular are easy picks for gaining in popularity during the COVID-19 crisis, as more folks in the stay-at-home economy are turning to online content, be it streaming services or social media and video chat platforms.
But gaming and eSports are really making waves.
Online video gaming has now overtaken both streaming and social media for top spot in terms of eyeballs glued to screen worldwide, and spending on gaming hit its highest per month total in March at a whopping $10.0 billion.
What’s more, gambling companies and casinos have taken notice and are now taking wagers on eSporting events, while major sports stations like ESPN are broadcasting eSport events.
Such is the case for Torque eSports, which earlier this month had its Race All-Star Series shown live on ESPN2. That was after becoming the first company to live-stream a eSports racing event in March.
“We’re immensely proud to have The Race All-Star Series – Fully Charged by ROKiT Phones now shown live [on ESPN],” said Torque Esports President and CEO Darren Cox in a press release. “When we debuted our eSports racing events, our live streaming numbers were off the charts, and now our agreement with ESPN along with our entire international broadcast package is taking virtual racing to an unprecedented global audience.
McWhirter says Torque should be getting a lot of viewers as the COVID-19 era drags on.
“People are basically saying, What can I do with time on my hands?’ so they’re watching Netflix as well as eSports and you’ve seen a number of the US ETFs on eSports starting to pick up. You’ve seen continuous acquisitions by [Canadian gaming network] Enthusiast Gaming which I do own personally.”
“Torque eSports, so people who are keen on NASCAR and Formula 1 are saying, ‘Wait a minute, nobody’s running around in circles’ … and there are too many concerns about COVID-19. So [Torque] put together virtual races,” McWhirter said.
“They originally were on YouTube and they’ve now expanded to some of the other networks, and they’re getting lots of people that are interested and that has brought in potential sponsors as well and therefore advertising revenue,” McWhirter said.
So far, the market hasn’t taken to tiny micro-cap GAME, as its share price is down 61 per cent year-to-date and down 95 per cent over the past 12 months.
“It’s a very speculative kind of opportunity but one that we think because it’s a piece where the racers themselves are interested, the fans are certainly interested and as a derivative that [there is] the kind of sports betting that might also be related to this,” McWhirter said.