ESPN plans esports marathon: Rocket League, Madden NFL, Apex Legends

In an announcement today, ESPN revealed that its ESPN2 network will host a 12-hour esports marathon on Sunday, April 5, with multiple popular games in the lineup. The company is calling this 'ESPN Esports Day,' explaining that it will broadcast competitive gameplay, game recaps, live (virtual) sports, and more. This will be the first time Rocket League will appear on ESPN TV.

Esports, of course, refers to video games — ones that are played competitively by players who have developed a high level of skills. Fortnite is perhaps the best-known game in the world of esports at the moment, but the competitions cover far more titles than it, including sports-based games like Madden NFL 20 and NBA 2K, as well as other fighting games like Apex Legends and Overwatch.

On Friday, ESPN revealed that its ESPN2 network will hold an esports marathon that kicks off with Madden NFL20 Classic followed by Madden NFL20 Club Championship, Madden NFL20 Challenge, F1 Esports Virtual Grand Prix, Season 8 Rocket League World Championship, NBA 2K Players Tournament, and, finally, EXP Apex Legends Pro-Am.

The first esports broadcast will start at 12PM ET with Madden lasting until 2PM, followed by an hour-and-a-half of the Virtual Grand Prix. The premiere of Rocket League on ESPN kicks off at 4:30PM ET followed by NBA gameplay at 6PM ET, and, finally, Apex Legends at 10PM. The full schedule, including what each game broadcast will involve, can be found on ESPN's website here.

We've seen a spike in broadcasted esports events over the past couple of weeks as a number of live sporting events have been canceled over the coronavirus pandemic. NASCAR, for example, has embraced esports as an alternative to the races that were cancelled. Esports itself, however, has also been impacted by the pandemic, with a number of leagues being forced to postpone and cancel various planned events over virus risk.