Four good reasons to take root on the couch as eSports fills a void this COVID-19 March weekend

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      Normally both Saturday and Sunday are holy days for North American sports fans.

      After climbing out of bed bleary eyed at 10:12 a.m, you take root on the sofa for—thanks to the magic of cable TV—all-day orgies of sports. 

      From bowling to baseball to motor racing to Russian chess championships, the entire world is your sweaty oyster.

      Now, of course, everything has changed. Assuming you're not into watching reruns of games that took place a decade before you were born, you're likely looking for something new this weekend. 

      On that front, eSports continues to step up and grab the spotlight in this new pandemic-stricken world. 

      Here's are four reasons to take root on the couch. 

       

      Washington Capital vs Detroit Red Wings NHL 20 Simulation

      Saturday at 8 p.m. EST on Monumental Sports Network and NBC Sports Washington.

      Talk about a case of Goliath vs. a sad shadow of a team that not that long ago was one of the greatest dynasties in the NHL. Joining the Capital announcers at NBCSW will be between-periods guests Garnet Hathaway and current Caps centre Nic Dowd. Hopefully, for just this once, Tom Wilson--or at least his virtual simulation--will behave himself for the full 60 minutes. 

      Overwatch League

      Various time on Saturday and Sunday. Go here for the full schedule. 

      Because it has teams across the globe, it's no surprise that Overwatch League has been hit hard by COVID-19, outbreaks making it difficult to keep to pre-set schedules. While 16 matches were originally planned for this weekend, 12 will still take place on Saturday and Sunday. Those include Los Angeles Valiant vs. Seoul Dynasty  at 4 p.m. on Saturday, and for those who have either trouble getting to sleep or, conversely, sleeping in, the Hangzhou Spark vs. Guangzhou Charge at 4 a.m. on Sunday. Matches will use the most recent Hero Pool, with Soldier: 76, Sombra, Winston, and Lúcio all on the sidelines. 

      INDYCAR iRacing Challenge

      Saturday at 4 p.m. EST on YouTube, Facebook, and iRacing's Twitch

      Twenty five drivers, including hi-wattage names like Jimmie Johnson,  Simon Pagenaud, and Josef Newgarden take to the track in a virtual version of the American Red Cross Grand Prix at Watkins Glen International. The team calling the action will include NBC's Leigh Diffey, Townsend Bell and Paul Tracy, and, as always, the best part of the race will be the crashes, an added bonus being you won't have to worry about anyone getting hurt. 

      eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series

      Sunday at 1 p.m. EST on FOX Sports Racing, the FOX Sports app, and FSI. 

      Accuracy is everything in the world of pro racing, which is why the likes of Ty Majeski, Joey Logano, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. will find themselves behind the eWheels of digital cars modelled to look like the real ones they drive on the NASCAR circuits. We're talking same numbers, paint colours, and stickers from their various sponsors. Last week's inaugural eNASCAR broadcast drew an audience of nearly a million viewers, making it both the most-watched sports event on cable, and the highest ever-rated eSports program viewed on TV. That's right--people actually watched it on TV. This Sunday will have FOX's NASCAR broadcaster Jeff Gordon, Mike Joy, and Larry McReynolds calling the action from a virtual version of the Texas Motor Speedway. As always, the best part of the race will, again, be the crashes, with NASCAR crackups always more entertaining than Indy crashes. 

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